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Squad of the Unwanted

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I hate the media. Television. Magazines. Newspapers. Writers. Journalists. But mostly scientists. With all the poking and prodding they do with needles, wearing those white gloves. Those clammy white gloves that are supposed to protect them. From what? I’m not going to hurt anyone, and what I have isn’t contagious. I’m not even sure how I got it. And it saved people, right? So what’s all this “national security” nonsense? I’m fifteen; cut me some slack!

The incident happened last week, but the whole fiasco started when I turned ten. My mom had given me some tulip bulbs to plant in our garden. So I was in the garden, thinking about how beautiful the flowers would be in the spring, when I saw them sprouting right in front of me! Baby bits of leaves broke the surface of the dirt, the head of a flower started to form, then they blossomed before me. To make sure they weren’t fake, I touched each flower petal for softness, and gave each flower a big sniff. They were all real. I thought it was some freak-of-nature fluke, but a similar thing happened about a week later.

Some friends and I were hanging around the school, and I stopped by a tree to rest. As I sank to the ground, I began to wish for some more shade. As the errant thought passed through my mind, the shade around me began to grow. I looked up, and saw the leaves spreading out, as if on my command. This terrified me.

Over the next year or so, I found out I could do other things too, and not just with plants. I could control the wind with the wave of my hand, I could make a monsoon sprout from the bathroom sink, and I could even make fire reignite from any form of a spark. I began perfecting my “talents”, and started practicing them in secret. Each new discovery brought with it more questions about what was happening to me. I had so many questions, but I couldn’t ask anyone. They’d just tell me I was crazy. I couldn’t even talk to my mom about it. After my dad gave up his life trying to save people from a fire when I was four, my mom and I have stuck together. I’ve never kept any secrets from her, and this one was so hard to keep. And I did it. Up until about a week ago.

Here’s what happened. I was at school and hanging out in my chemistry class after lunch. We were all really excited because that day all four of the chemistry classes were meeting together to do one big experiment; field testing day. There were about a hundred students in the expanse of the classroom when the principal came on the intercom saying we were doing a lockdown: the one where everyone has to close all the blinds, turn off all the lights, and stay quiet for a long time. The only problem about lockdown drills is that the people breaking in have been through the drills too. They know there are still people in the school.

Kids came barging into the room. It was a group of five of the wimpy kids: beat up sneakers, tube socks, khaki pants that were too short, glasses, braces, acne, the works. Well, I guess wimpy is the wrong word to describe them. They were just really lame kids; the group that was always being pushed around. But not that day. That day, they had guns.

They marched into the room as if on a mission. Out of all the cowering kids in the corner, they picked seventeen students out of the crowd and moved them to the center of the room. Three more kids came in with guns, and they took over the hostages while the original five trained their guns on the other students.

The biggest of the vengeful nerds went to the center of the room, stood on a table, and started talking. Stanley Veilo started off by saying this: “It’s your fault. You drove me to this. All of you, but especially you” he said, pointing to the smaller group of captured students. “All of your bullying and harassing. When I point these guns at your friend’s heads and shoot, it won’t be me who’s pulling the trigger; it’ll be you.” Just to show he was serious, he shot a bullet into the ceiling. It sounded different than the bullets on TV. This bullet sounded angry.

I was scared for my life and the lives of my classmates. As Stanley continued to explain how long it took to plan the invasion and gather followers, a battle raged inside me. Do I expose my secret and try to save my classmates, or do I keep my secret and wait for the police? I’d seen a friend texting someone about what was happening when the nerds burst into the room, but the police still had not arrived. I decided that my friends’ lives were more important than my secret. If I had known that the police were waiting right outside the door to take them down, the next few moments would never have happened.

Mustering all the strength and courage I possessed, I got to my feet. By the time I was halfway out of my crouch, I had three guns pointed at me. I started to rise slower, and when I reached my full height, all I said was: “Please don’t shoot.” I looked around at my friends, some sitting beside me, some sitting in the center, and thought of the fragility of man and crushed spirits. Staring Stanley straight in the eyes, I nervously said, “Stanley. Please don’t shoot. It’s not going to help anyone. If you put the guns down now, you won’t get in trouble.”

“Bulls***. I’ve been in trouble my whole damn life. I’ve always had trouble fitting in with the crowd. But if people fear me, I can rein over whomever I want. And that rein begins now.” Taking aim, Stanley pointed the gun and shot right at my head.

That was his big mistake. Revealing my true self, I willed a gust of wind to move the bullet away. The bullet’s strength competed against the force of the wind. It missed my head by inches. Shards of glass cascaded onto the ground as the bullet sliced through the window behind me. Remains of glass clung to the window frame. Branches of trees began to creep their way into the classroom, to grab hold of the gun wielders. Each time a gun fired, the bullet either came head-to-head with the wind’s force or the solid strength of tree bark. The branches captured the Squad of the Unwanted one by one, forcing them to drop their guns.

I had never used my “gift” to this extent before. I was glad it was working, but I was tiring. Then I slipped. When one of the original five, who had their gun trained on the group of students trembling in the corner, pulled the trigger, a gust of wind was supposed to move the bullet to the side. That didn’t happen. Instead of wind, fire started from a spark of the gun. As a result, the boy who shot the gun became a ball of fire. Fire is the element I fear most. Ever since my dad’s tragic death, I’ve been afraid of others dying in the same way. Before the fire spread to the trees, I used the last of my strength of make water shoot out of all of the sinks in the classroom and aim toward the human fireball. My intention was never to kill anyone, only to protect them.

The cops finally entered the fray. I was later told that they had been waiting outside the classroom door for instructions and had come in when they heard commotion. This is the scene they walked in on: a large cluster of students huddled in the corner of the room; a smaller collection of students toward the center; the Squad of the Unwanted spread about the room, held down by tree branches; geysers of water aimed toward a human sized ball of light; and me, at the heart of it all. My worst fears came to fruition when I glanced at the faces of the policemen. Each face held the expression of shock and horror. Looking around the class for the first time since I’d risen from my crouch, I started to shake. The gaze I received from every single student, every single friend, was the same look they had given the attackers when they first walked in. I wasn’t going to hurt them. I was trying to protect them.

It all became too much for me. My shaking from fear and exhaustion turned into convulsions. After they nabbed Stanley, the very last gun holder, I fainted.


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*


*

I woke up four days later, lying in a hospital bed with my mom holding my hand. Two doctors, a nurse, two scientists, and a news reporter were also in the room. After the doctor made sure all of my vitals were stable, the scientists looked me over, taking turns asking me questions. The news reporter held a tape recorder in his hand the whole time, and I could see the reflection of a camera lens in my window looking out into the hallway. I looked at my mom to see her reaction. She just smiled down at me and squeezed my hand. I smiled back at my mom and stared at the scientists. I refused to answer any questions. I refused to talk. I didn’t want to be put on display like some animal at the zoo.
It’s been three days since I’ve woken up. Each day, my mom brings me newspapers so that I can read the headlines. Young Mind: Threat to the Nation. New Danger in Our Schools. Public Says “Keep It Away From Us”. I’m not even a person anymore. I’m an “It”. I’ve become a monster. Over what? Trying to save my friends?
They don’t get it. They don’t get what it’s like. I just wish I could turn the clocks back a week and tell myself not to show the world what I can do. Or go back even further and try to stop myself from contracting these “abilities” in the first place. There must be someone out there who is like me. Maybe they’ve found a way to deal with it. My new goal in life is to find this person, if they even exist.
I hope my time will not be wasted.



Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

_Elsy_ said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 8:30 am

i loved it, you have a lot of talent. you should kep writing. And if you call someonje an It, you're just going to get kick in the face but in that girl's case those guys are going to get hit in the head with tree branches.

btw-can you check out some of my stuff?

 
FantasyROXmySOX13 said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm
Its really creative and I really love it! This story has some real potential! You should continue it!
 
mudpuppy replied...
Jul. 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm
I agree! I especially like the beginning about the reporters and scientists. I have to say I was hooked from the start.
 
Smoothieheart said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

I like the idea. And the writing's good too.

The nerds shooting people was a little....strange.

But over all,  i think it has potential. :)

 
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