Control (Part 1)

I live in a controlled universe. A universe were everything can be predicted. Everything moves smoothly. Homo sapiens complete their Destines, one at a time.

How I, Raini Sight-Minder, ever ended up in such a place must have been a mistake. At fourteen, to never had even a spark of power is unheard of. I was special-in a bad way.

The only ones who were still optimistic were my parents, four year old brother Roosevelt, and my best friend, Kristy Luna-Stormer. Even my sister Lori didn't think I'd make it-well she is ten. By now I had lost hope too; losing the endless battle with my self.

If my Gift didn't manifest before my fifteenth birthday, I would be demoted to Human, my memory wiped, and those of the promoted implanted. This switch was a shame for both families because no one knew what had happened.

I had four months, nineteen days, seven hours, thirty-two minutes, and---ten seconds.

No, I'm not pressured at all.

I'm just scared to lose my friends, family, everything. As I pout my only redeeming quality swings in front of my eyes. What would I look like with out my chestnut locks? Big brown eyes framed with midnight lashes, pointed nose, red rosebud lips? Who would I be without them?

But this morning, I knew, something would occur. As I walked up the asphalt street, taking the 'slow route', I glanced around.

People whizzing by on moving sidewalks, sides of buildings rapidly flipping through vibrant advertisements, sudden clicks as Gifts were used, phone-pods buzzing. The bright green hedges lining the streets were perfectly trimmed, not a bud out of place. Parents hollering last minute reminders from empty stoops. Businesses opening up, door's ajar, sale advertisements beaming from shadowy windows. Everyone's own agenda combined to create the constant hum we've grown used to.

Just a normal day in D-ville.

Unexpectedly, my phone-pod buzzed, snapping me out of my daze. It was Kristy.

“Thank goodness you answered!” she gushed the words as if my life depended upon it.

“Of course. Why wouldn't I have?”

“My dad said an electric storm will hit J-square in...”

BOOM! Our connection was lost.

Everyone rotated towards the buildings, and their screens with great expectancy. The zooming ad's disappeared, and Mayor Fast-Brainer's chubby face materialized. He was making a city wide announcement, from his kitchen, in his bathrobe.

Grumbling, he assured us that all was well and the Stormer responsible would be stripped of their powers and demoted.

Recently the notion of being demoted had become more realistic, and sad. A simple mistake could cost them their life.

Schools and work places wouldn't open for an extra half hour to insure everyone would be on time...Boring post 'trauma' announcements.

All of a sudden, those around me began gravitating away, like negative magnets. And I started to glow.

An unusual electric purr filled my ears and numbed me. An ominous, hueless cloud loomed ahead. Oddly, I felt buoyant as the cresendoing buzz being omitted from the cloud became unendurable. From the cloud I was slowly able to perceive a startling image.

And then it hit me. I was about to receive my gift.

But the image did not thrill me as I had always dreamed. A massive tree sprung from nowhere, its vast array of branches criss-crossing above, and dwindling downward. These branches connected with the invisible soil, creating an enormous umbrella before me. Lightning bolted towards the monumental structure, hitting the shape numerous times, but nothing sparked.

This was my Gift? Questions pored into my head, but it wasn't when can I start using it or how. My questions were basic-what is it?

Of course I of all people get the unknown Gift.

The world reappeared. No one was facing the buildings or bustling to their next destinations like I believed-they were all staring at me.

Arms raised to the sky, a cheesy grin yanking my lips apart, and the bewildering image of the umbrella tree lingering above my head, I was quite a sight.

To my extreme confusion they were applauding! An man old enough to be an Elder began it, his wrinkled skin forming a smile. Others momentarily caught on, oldest to youngest-all except those in their school uniforms.

Consecutively, their brains pondered the why, wondering what was so special about her?

Click. As if brain washed those who were applauding cleared out of the sidewalk.

All Raini had thought was, “ Please let things go back to normal, and let me get to class!”

In truth, Raini was special-in a bad way. She was the next Controller. Able to manipulate anyone, or even anything, it was the ultimate Gift, but it came at a high cost.





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