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Freeze

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““Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Kara! Happy birthday to you!”

That was when it all started. Well, not exactly. But I’m pretty sure that’s the moment when space and time unwound themselves for me to taste. My sixteenth birthday.

As terrible as it may sound, space and time unwinding themselves hasn’t been so bad. You see, it’s kind of a special thing. I don’t know anyone else that it’s happened to. Well, maybe didn’t is a better word. Sounds cliché, but I remember it all crystal clearly.

“Kara!”

“What?” I asked. Victoria Malone had taken me out of my daydreaming state.

“So, are you going blonde or brunette this summer?” she whispered. Apparently this was some kind of giant secret that she had to be the first to know.

“I was brunette this winter, so probably blonde,” I replied. My hair has tiptoed on dirty blonde since my birth, and recently I started going one way or the other based on the season.

“So hot,” Arianna Valdez smiled and nodded.

“You’re gonna be like, unstoppable,” Jessica Freitas agreed. I rolled my eyes, picked up my lunch tray and dumped it in the trash. Unstoppable, right.

“So, how was your family party yesterday?” Arianna asked as I sat back down.

“Bleh. I wish I could snap my fingers and get rid of my brothers sometimes,” I shrugged and snapped.

That was the first time I had ever used my God-given gift of time-space-mumbo-jumbo.

Jessica, Arianna, and Victoria froze. I laughed.

“Funny. Last time I checked it wasn’t April Fool’s Day,” I grinned. I waved my hands in front of their faces, clapped, and jumped up.

“Holy cr*p!” I shrieked. Everyone in the room was motionless. My heart raced. I walked over to Nina and Katie Gregg. Katie was the good twin, Nina was the evil one. I clapped my hands in front of their faces and screamed at them. I put Nina’s open milk carton on her head.

I ran back to my table.

“What is going on?” I shouted. I hit Victoria’s hands out from under her chin, and her body fell forward. Her head hit the table with a weird smacking sound.

“When did they first freeze?” I whispered. Then, I snapped my fingers. Victoria lifted her head up and shook it while Arianna talked about how bad her brothers were too. From across the lunch room, I heard jeers of teenage boys. I spun around to see Nina Gregg covered in milk.

She screamed a few choice expletives before strutting out like a heron. Katie glanced around the room, and then continued to her table.

“Whoa. What happened to Nina?” Jessica whispered.

“She got milk poured on her, duh,” Victoria said.

“I didn’t see it happen though,” Arianna added. “Did you, Kara?”

“Um, no,” I replied. I hoped to sound convincing. Arianna shrugged and moved onto her next topic of conversation, which happened to be Mrs. Popler’s hit and run charges.
I looked around the cafeteria and wondered how many people were trying to remember how Nina’s body became covered in milk. A few shocked faces, a few in disbelief, a few pondering. They could be thinking about anything though. I sat back in my chair and tried to listen to Arianna’s gossip. When the bell rang, I nearly sprinted to study hall.
I wanted to continue practicing with my new gift. As soon as I entered the room, I snapped my fingers. I rearranged the papers on Mr. Dunn’s desk. I put Myra Johnson’s hair in a ponytail. I turned Josh Gibbon’s backpack inside out and zipped it back up. Then, I took a seat and snapped my fingers.
As Myra and her friends took their seats, they asked about her ponytail, which she couldn’t seem to remember doing. Mr. Dunn searched and shuffled through his papers. Josh hollered about his backpack and asked who executed the crime. All I could do was smile.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” I heard a voice whisper. I spun around to see Sarah McLaughlin staring at me. Her eyes, like bush baby eyes, were huge and bluer than the summer sky.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Allie Trainor and I were discussing it at lunch. When everyone else was frozen. We were wondering who the girl screaming at everyone was,” Sarah explained.
“Sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I lied.

“Kara, please. I’ve known you were special since fifth grade, when I snapped and everyone froze except for you. Had to give you a concussion to make you forget.”

“Seriously?”

I must’ve looked like a complete idiot at that point. Sarah knew so much about me, and it freaked me out.

“Seriously. Kara, don’t do anything you’ll regret. I’m not going to help you. I’m not your friend. Sounds harsh, but honesty is the best policy, isn’t it?” Sarah batted her eyelashes and started on a worksheet. I turned around and rubbed my temples.

I barely made it through the rest of the day. Sarah and Allie seemed to be keeping tabs on me. Katie and Nina were out to find and possibly kill whoever got milk on Nina. The final bell rang. Finally. I rushed to my locker and out the door. I glanced over my shoulder continuously during my walk home. Turning the last corner onto Bell Street was when the nightmare happened.

I looked behind myself one last time. As I spun around and turned the corner, Mrs. Popler’s beaten pick-up truck slammed into me. I tried to snap and stop time right before it happened. I fell and hit the cement soundly, but the truck stopped. I waited for it to drive away, for Mrs. Popler to exit the truck and shout. Nothing happened though. My hands burned. I stared at them, mangled and bloody. I wanted to snap and unfreeze the scene, but my fingers wouldn’t meet.

“Why?” I screamed bloody murder; it seemed like the only reasonable thing to do.

“Kara?” Sarah’s voice shouted back. Her voice was definitely distant, but clearer than a phone call.

“Help, please, Sarah,” I cried out. A few minutes later, Sarah arrived at the scene with Allie at her side.

“Why should I?” she asked upon arrival.

“Because I made stupid mistakes with this gift and I want to take it back,” I said.

“Not because you’re sorry about kissing my boyfriend behind the bleachers in eighth grade?”

Sarah crossed her arms and stared at me.

“That too! I’m sorry!” I said, though I wasn’t. I liked Charlie Rultz, and he having a girlfriend wasn’t going to stop me.

“Allie, unfreeze this, but don’t move her. We’ll see how fate decides to play this one,” Sarah instructed. The two moved onto the sidewalk, where I should have been, and Allie snapped. I closed my eyes as the truck screeched to a stop. It backed up; I could see blood on the hood, bright red on the dull red paint. Then, it sped away.

“Call an ambulance for her,” Sarah said, and walked away. Allie called the ambulance and then followed Sarah.

I think that was the last time I cried. And the last time I used my “gift”. It’s not a gift, I’m convinced of that. It’s not a curse, either. It’s a… A something. When I learn a proper word for it, I’ll let you know. I love you Mom. See you someday.”

I sealed the letter after reading it aloud, and placed it against the cold marble. I put a rose with it. Mom loved roses. Then, I stood up and walked to the entrance of the cemetery and snapped. The cars started to move again, and people wandered throughout the cemetery.

“I just wanted a moment between us Mom. That was the last time, though. I promise,” I whispered, and blew a kiss to her headstone. “I promise.”



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