It was a chilly October afternoon. Above, the sky was streaked with gray clouds, which covered the sun and made the atmosphere feel lonesome. Wind whispered every now and then, making Eden Carlson, who was walking home from school, shiver. Getting home from the bus stop was always a long, tiring trek through her neighborhood, but today Eden appreciated it and took her time. When she got home, she would pretend like everything was just fine. If her mother asked her about her day, she'd play it cool. She didn't need to know her daughter had gotten yet another detention...
But it wasn't her fault Mrs. Hawkins never kept her mouth shut. She disrespected students constantly, as if they were of lesser value than she was. And Eden was not the kind of person to let that kind of disrespect be ignored.
Eden continued walking, staring at her worn-down tennis shoes. When she looked up again, she was halfway home. Feeling a surge of anger at her idiot teacher, she watched as a flurry of dead leaves began to fly around her. She let them envelope her, and kept moving forward.
And then, she was at the front door. Before she could knock on its chipped, white surface, however, the door swung open and out stepped her mother, disappointment plastered on her face. Oh, great. She already knew.
"I had a talk with your principal today," she said, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Oh, really?" Eden replied, walking past her mother into the house. The door slammed shut, and Eden threw her backpack onto the floor. "You guys seem to get along really well. Maybe you should get dinner together sometime."
"That's not funny," she snapped. "He told me you got another detention." She paused, her piercing blue eyes staring into Eden's. "This is your fourth this year, Eden. I don't even want to count how many you got last year. When is this going to end?"
"When people start respecting me, I'll stop." Eden scowled. "Apparently, I'm not entitled to that at school."
"No one is ever going to respect you if you're constantly acting like a fool," she scolded her daughter. "I'm sick of this."
"I don’t get detentions on purpose," Eden explained. "But when people treat me like---"
Her mother cut her off. "Stop. I don't want to hear any more of your excuses. Your father and I have been talking, and we think it would be best if we sent you to live with your grandparents in San Diego. You can start over again at a new school. Maybe you'll like it better."
Taken aback, Eden said, "What? You want to send me away?"
"What choice do I have? You won't listen, no matter what I do."
"But what about my telekinesis? You know what I'm capable of," Eden replied. "Without you constantly watching me, who knows what I could do? Someone could end up hurt, and personally, I don't think you want that on your conscience."
"Oh, please," her mother retorted. "You don't think I know how this works? I'm the one who passed the gift onto you in the first place. You aren't strong enough to hurt anybody yet."
"You don't know that."
Her mother stared at her, and Eden could tell she could hardly believe what her daughter was saying to her. But Eden didn't care. She stared back, knowing what was coming next.
"Go to your room," her mother demanded, but before she even said the words, Eden had spun around and headed upstairs.
Once she was inside her room, her door successfully slammed shut and locked, Eden sat on her bed. She decided to do what she always did when she was angry or stressed: make things levitate.
On her dresser were four objects: a grayish-purple rock, a candlestick, a green Christmas ornament, and a small blanket. Eden practiced her telekinesis on these four items every day. Exercising her gift was different for each item she focused on. Each object had its own dimensions and was made from different materials. Because of this, Eden had to channel different energies. She always started with the plastic Christmas ornament, because it was the easiest. It was light and spherical, which made it much easier to levitate. The blanket, on the other hand, was the most difficult. Because it was made of fabric, it was harder to get into the air. Often, it slipped through the cloud of energy Eden sent toward it, so she had to concentrate more intensely. Fortunately, she was used to it by now. She'd been lifting these objects every day for a year, and by now they were so easy to lift that she just used them as an exercise, before she moved onto more difficult things.
Right now, Eden was going to make her desk levitate. Since it was small, it wouldn't be too hard. She needed it to block her door so that no one could get in. There was no way she was getting sent away, not on her watch. Plus, she had a party to go to, and she needed to get out as soon as possible.
Eden focused on its shape, how smooth it was, and its weight. She focused on its color, too, and tried to send her energy around it, so that it could float. She needed her mind to become one with the object. She felt a wave of energy go from her brain to the desk. At first, it didn't levitate, so she focused harder, and soon it moved in front of her door.
Proud, Eden quickly got ready for the party. Half an hour later, she threw on a jacket, opened her window, and climbed out onto the tree branch that was just outside her window. Eden often used this tree to sneak out, and she wondered why her parents hadn't cut it down by now, as she'd snuck out many times before, and they'd caught her at least twice.
She climbed down the tree as quickly and quietly as she could. The tree's trunk was twisted, so Eden had to be careful not to slip and fall out of the tree. It had happened once last year, and it was not pretty.
Eden dropped to the ground and scurried away to her best friend Holly's house, which was where the party was being held. Holly had never exactly been a party animal--- not until recently, anyway. She had been a calm and quiet kid, but this year she'd become much more outgoing. Lots of people talked to her now, and Eden supposed Holly wanted to keep her new status, which was why she was holding these parties so often nowadays.
When she arrived at Holly's house, she noticed she was late. The house was illuminated with yellow light, and she could see that many people were already there. Eden hoped there was nothing wrong with arriving late to her best friend's party.
She walked inside and instantly was overwhelmed by the swarm of people and the loud music that filled the room. She noticed one of the girls from her school, Sylvia, dancing on the dining room table. Another student, whose name was Jack, was lying on the floor, by the front door, and Eden had to step around him to get into the room.
Across the room, she spotted Holly, who was talking to a random blonde girl Eden didn’t know. Before she could make it to her, Daniel, one of the soccer players at school, blocked her path.
"Hi, Eden," he said, a little too excitedly. "Hey, I got you a drink. Do you want to---"
"No thanks," Eden interrupted quickly. "I'm going to talk to my friend." Seeing the disappointment on Daniel's face, she added, "Thanks for the drink, though." Taking the cup from him, Eden walked swiftly toward Holly.
When she saw Eden, Holly turned away from the blonde girl and shouted, "Eden! You made it!" She paused. "How did your mother handle the news?"
"Um..." Eden responded, "she wants to send me away to live in San Diego."
"What? Is she crazy? Do you know how far California is from Massachusetts?" Holly exclaimed. "She can't do that!"
"Don't worry," Eden reassured her. "I won't let her. She always threatens me when she's upset." She took a sip of her drink, trying to convince herself that her own mother wouldn't really send her away. It tasted like nail polish, but she drank it anyway. "She's been this way ever since I got that suspension for getting into a fight with Abigail."
"Well, you can't really blame her," Holly said. "And I'm not going to lie, Eden. Sometimes you get really out of hand."
"Aren't you supposed to be on my side?"
"I am on your side," Holly stated. "I've told you this so many times. Sometimes, you just need to walk away."
Eden sighed exasperatedly. "Well, it gets hard to do that when you make one mistake and no one trusts you anymore. My mother always thinks I'm going to leave one day and sell drugs on the street or something."
"No she doesn't."
"She does. I know she does," Eden said.
"Well, all I can say is that maybe you should stop giving her reasons to believe that," Holly told her. She was right, but Eden would never admit that. She hated being wrong.
"I'm going to go talk to Daniel, " Eden said. "This drink he gave me is disgusting."
Eden walked over to where Daniel sat on the sofa with his friends. The party raged on all around, and the music seemed to get increasingly louder as she moved. When Daniel saw her coming over to where he was sitting, he got up and walked to her, looking expectantly at her.
"Daniel, what did you do to my drink?" She demanded. For a minute, Daniel looked concerned.
"What are you talking about?" He asked, a confused expression on his face.
"It tastes like nail polish."
Daniel looked terrified, like Eden was going to punch him in the face. She didn't know why, because he was obviously stronger than she was, but she supposed it was because of her reputation. Eden almost laughed.
"I'm joking, Daniel," Eden said. "But it does taste gross."
"Oh," he said. "Sorry. I thought it would be more your speed than the fruit punch."
Eden tried not to roll her eyes. She talked to Daniel for a while longer. As she talked to him, she realized that maybe she should stop being so defensive. Maybe she was meaner than she thought. Daniel actually seemed to like her. Had she been ruining her chances at actually having friends other than Holly all this time?
Once Eden turned to find Holly again, she suddenly felt very, very tired. Her eyelids began to get heavy, and she tried to keep them open, failing every time. Her brain began to feel fuzzy, so she sat down on the floor. Soon, despite all her efforts to stay awake, she fell asleep.
Eden awoke to gusts of wind blowing through her hair and cool metal underneath her. Where was she? Eden tried to sit up, but couldn't. There was some kind of crinkly material surrounding her. And why was it so dark?
"Hello?" Eden shouted. "Is anyone there?"
The only response was the sound of the wind. Eden tried to remember where she'd been before she'd fallen asleep unexpectedly.
She'd been at Holly's party. But how in the world had she gotten so tired so suddenly?
And then she remembered. Daniel. He'd given her a drink as soon as he'd seen her walk in. The drink, whatever it was, had tasted like nail polish, so she'd jokingly asked him what he put in it. But now she knew. He really had put something in her drink.
Eden had to escape. Right now. If she couldn't move this material by hand, she would have to use her mind. Trying to stay calm, Eden focused on the feeling of the material. She came to the conclusion that it was tarp, and that it was tied to something, which was the reason she was having so much trouble getting up. Eden first focused on the image of a knot in her mind. She focused on untying it, and once she did untie it, she directed that energy outward. Next, she focused on getting the tarp off her, imagining it flying upward.
However, there was no need. Eden must have successfully untied the tarp telekinetically, because the next thing she knew, the wind caused the tarp to fly away. It was then that Eden could see she was in the back of somebody's truck. Whoever the driver was, they weren't driving too terribly fast, which was why she hadn't really noticed she was in a truck until just now. In fact, this driver was almost going too slowly.
Could she jump out? Just as the thought occurred to her, the truck sped up. Great. She was going to have to wait until the truck stopped. If it ever did stop.
For about an hour, she waited there, in the back of the truck. She contemplated what she would do once it did stop, and tried not to be afraid. Sure, she had her telekinesis, but what if she couldn't focus on that because she was so afraid? But if this really was Daniel, he was going to have hell to pay.
At long last, the truck came to a halt in the back of a house surrounded by woods. As soon as it did, Eden jumped out of the truck and began to sprint. A voice behind her shouted,
But Eden kept running. She didn't look back as she ran, feeling her heart pound. She didn't know where she was going, but that didn't matter. All she cared about was leaving. Maybe she could try and find the police station. Maybe---
But just then, somebody came up behind her and grabbed her. She struggled to be free, but it was no use. She wasn't getting out of this.
"It's just me," came Daniel's voice. "Stop struggling. Let me explain."
"Get away from me!" Eden exclaimed.
"Listen," Daniel said. "I'll let you go if you allow me to explain."
Eden thought for a moment, and slowly stopped struggling. As promised, Daniel let go of her. Eden turned around and looked him straight in the eye.
"If you think this is going to work out for you, Daniel, you're wrong," Eden said, trying to sound braver than she felt. "You have no idea of what I'm capable of."
"Actually," Daniel said, "I do."
At that moment, Daniel looked away and focused on something in the distance. Puzzled, Eden watched him. As she watched, she saw an old, rusty wheel float toward them and then land delicately on the ground. Eden's heart dropped. Now she was definitely afraid.
"How did you do that?" Eden asked, her voice weak.
"I'm telekinetic," Daniel explained. "Just like you."
"How do you know about that?" she demanded, her hand clenching into a fist at her side. She tried not to panic.
"I've seen it," Daniel said. "Remember that day at school, when you got into that fight with Abigail? Well, after I saw what happened, I went to go find you. I wanted to see if you were alright. When I caught up to you, you were on your way home. You were making a bunch of leaves levitate. If I had been an ordinary person, I might have missed it. It looked like a normal scene, like maybe the wind was doing it, but I knew better. I saw how intently you focused on those leaves, and I knew then that you were like me."
"So that gives you the right to drug me?" Eden said, irritated by Daniel's nonchalance. How could he do such a thing?
"It was just melatonin," Daniel replied, as if that made the situation better. "For years I've been trying to find someone else like me. Finally, I have." Daniel paused briefly. "Do you know what we could do? Do you know how powerful we are?"
"It's not that big of a deal," Eden said. "It's just an odd talent."
"You're missing the point," Daniel stated. "You want to know the reason why I brought you here? This is where I'm planning on moving as soon as this school year ends. I'm dropping out. I need to find more people like us. You're just the beginning."
"I still don't understand," Eden said, puzzled as to why Daniel cared so much. "What's the point of this?"
"I'm going to create an army." Daniel's eyes were lit with passion. "With so much power, we could all take over. Then, we won't have to worry anymore. No one can tell us we're wrong. We will be the ones in charge."
"Daniel, I'm sorry to say this, but you are so stupid." Eden still struggled to understand the importance of Daniel's viewpoint. "I don't have time for this. I have to go."
"There's nowhere you can go," Daniel said. "We're hours from town."
Fantastic, Eden thought. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse.
"Daniel, honestly, what's your problem? You're a good kid--- you're on the soccer team and you're in clubs and everything. You have nothing to worry about. You're not like me," Eden said. "So why are you doing this?"
"There's a lot you don't know about me, Eden," he replied. "Do you know what it's like to have parents who could honestly care less about you? Do you know what it's like to be seen as weak?"
"Yes," Eden answered. "I do. And I'm over it now. Will you please just take me home?"
"Fine," Eden answered. "If you won't take me back, then I'll just have to go home on my own."
Eden turned around and began walking. Trees surrounded were circled all around her, and it was so dark she could hardly see. She hated Daniel for his stupidity, and she hated him for thinking she was just as dumb as he was. Just as Eden reached the edge of the clearing, however, she was tackled from behind.
She fell to the ground with a thud. Daniel had knocked her over, and now pinned her to the ground. She struggled to be free, but Daniel was stronger than she was.
"Stop it!" She shouted, but it was no use. "Let me go!"
Daniel seemed to think this was some kind of game. He laughed in the most twisted, awful way and said, "There's no way you're getting out of here."
There had to be something she could do...
Nearby, Eden could see a fallen tree trunk. As quickly as she could, she channeled all the energy she had in her, and made it float over to where they were in the field. Daniel, who was too focused on preventing her from escaping, didn't notice that she was exercising her gift at that moment. Eden used all the strength she had, and watched as the tree trunk hovered over Daniel. Then, she used all the power in her, and made the tree trunk fall on Daniel's head.
Daniel fell to the ground, and Eden got up and ran. She kept on going as the trees flew past her. She didn't look back until she got to the nearest police station.
Hours later, deep into the night, Eden's mother and father arrived at the police station in a panic. As soon as they saw their daughter, they ran up to her and hugged her.
"I'm so glad you're okay," Eden's mother said.
Eden had filed a report as soon as she had found the nearest police station, and now, she didn't know what would happen. All she knew was that she was glad her parents really did care about her, and she realized how wrong she'd been before. She should have seen how much they cared a long time ago.
Once the police said it was okay to go, Eden and her parents got into the car and drove home. They talked the whole way home, and though Eden would be grounded for a while, she no longer cared. She knew now that, no matter what happened, she'd get through it.
That week, the family packed up their belongings and headed out to San Diego. It would be calmer there, and safer, because no one knew about Eden's telekinesis in San Diego. They would live with Eden's grandparents for a while, until Eden's parents got new jobs and were all settled. Fortunately, Eden's grandparents knew how important the situation was, and didn't mind. Eden would start over at a new school. Maybe, just maybe, she would finally get her life together. At least she knew one thing: she could control her telekinesis. It would always be there when she needed it, and that was all she could have hoped for.