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It took me a little while to come back to reality. I was only half listening to what Demitri was saying, let alone processing it. He quickly launched into another story about him and Ace's jam session the other day, while my focus was elsewhere. My mind reeled, trying to pay attention to all my surroundings. It was all so overwhelming. Hyper active senses could do that to a person.
"Callie, are you even listening to me?"
I glanced sideways at Demitri, whose concerned expression snapped me out of my trance.
"Sorry, just practicing," I replied.
I took a good look of the room around me. It was the middle of the day, and Demitri, Ace, Skye and I were stuck in school on another lousy day. Demitri and I shared the same Social Studies class, and the four of us were lucky enough to have lunch together. Time was dragging but, thankfully, this class was our last one til the bell rang for lunch. I took in all the scribbles of notes on the board, and continued with my notes lying abandoned on my desk.
"Practicing what? Invasion of the mind?" A voice whispered beside me.
I threw a pointed look at Demitri.
"Let's not have this conversation here," I said.
He sighed, and went back to his notebook.
"And just for the record, it's not 'invasion of the mind'," I added coolly. "It's called 'perspective'. It's not like I'm taking over anybody,"
His pencil paused, and I saw him stifle his laugh. I picked up my own utensil in triumph.
I'd always found myself to be a little different. No, it wasn't your typical, I-can-lick-my-elbow weird, or I'm-double-jointed different. It was the fact that I could experience what a person was feeling, or what their personal opinion about something was, by simply gently pushing into their mind. There was no possession, or mind controlling taking place, so I didn't find it all that bad. I'm not able to put thoughts into peoples heads either, or make them change their minds about something, as cool as that sounds. I can only see them for myself.
I first discovered my ability when I was in Kindergarten. It was parent/teacher conference time, and for some reason, my teacher was oddly hesitant to say something to my parents. So she shrugged it off, and went on to a new subject. I, however, was all too curious to find out what that topic of discussion was. I don't know how I did it, but the more I thought about it, the more clear it became.
She was fumbling over whether or not she should tell my parents that I wasn't the best socializer. I mean, I had a friendly conversation here and there, but I mainly kept to myself. I liked being that way. It made me calmer, and more attentive. My teacher didn't understand that, I guess. I was so focused on my side of the discussion that I pulled out of her thoughts and just stared at her blankly for the rest of the conference.
I didn't tell anyone, didn't want anyone to know. This was my difference, my something that made me special. Why waste your breath in telling someone, when all they'll do is check you in to the nearest mental institute? I all but went into my own little world. That was, until I met Alice.
I'd gone a year with my new uncovered abilities, trying it out every now and then, sometimes for fun. It also came in handy when I didn't understand an assignment, but I wasn't the biggest fan of homework to begin with. We were in the first grade when we met, sitting across from each other at a table both of us were seated at. She kept staring at me. I was about to enter her mind to see for myself what she wanted, but it didn't feel polite to intrude without her knowing.
"Do you wanna see something cool?" she suddenly asked me.
"Sure," I chirped, relived she was speaking her mind.
She moved her gaze to the picture I'd been coloring, then looked over at the crayons lying in the middle of the table. I stared, not knowing what she was doing.
"Look," she said, pointing to a purple crayon.
Slowly, almost as if someone was painting over it, it began to change it's color. It got lighter, then switched to a more blue tone. When she was satisfied with the shade of midnight blue she wanted, she beamed in my direction, where I sat dumbfounded.
"My name's Alice," she added, as if we had not just witnessed the most abnormal thing in the universe.
After school, I showed her my gifts, and we giggled and goofed around like little kids do. She found me amazingly interesting, asking me again and again to say aloud what she was thinking. We've been best friends ever since.
I silently chuckled at the memory. Demitri gave me a questioning look, but I shook my head.
"3..2...1...!" he chanted. As expected, the shrilling pitch of the bell rang, and we both jumped out of our seats and raced to the door.
"I'll meet you in line, Callie," he said, heading for his locker.
"Okay!" I called back to him.
When I reached my locker, I dumped all my books into it and grabbed my ipod. Slamming the door shut, I swiftly made my way down to the lunchroom to find Alice and Skye already at a table. Grabbing a seat next to Alice, I laughed at Demitri, who was already at the front of the line. The boy was quite the competitor.
"Hey, Alice," I said.
She looked up at me, her headphones still in her ears. "What did you just call me?"
"Mistake forgotten, Calantha," She smiled. Well, she got me back.
She didn't all together hate it when people used her real name, but she just thought that Ace had a better edge and meaning to it. She was a really 'artsy-fartsy' person, and she insisted that Ace had a better ring to her calling in life. No one minded; she was always creative with almost anything she could set her mind to.
The thing about being in high school is that you think that you're going to be all alone, and no one is going to understand you. For me, I didn't have to worry about it. Ace, Demitri, Skye and I all shared one thing in common-our differences from the rest of the world. We all had powers of our own, things we could do that a normal person could only dream of doing.
For instance, if you challenged Demitri to pretty much any game at all, he could kick your butt almost instantly. He'd always shrugged, saying it was just mere luck, but we all knew it was something more. He was special, like the rest of us. He could lift unbelievable heavy weights with ease, and was one of the most clever and smart students in our grade. His accuracy with every sport was dead-on perfect, his favorite being Archery. It's no surprise he loves Gym class.
Skye, on the other hand, was a lot gentler with her powers. She loved anything that had to do with volunteering, or interacting with animals. I'd always call her the 'light' of our little group, because she's the most positive person you'll ever meet.
Ace and I met Demitri and Skye during recess in the third grade. Only Ace and I knew each others secrets, and when Demitri challenged us to a relay race across the jungle gym, we thought we'd win easy peasy with our advantage.
Demitri was like lightning, speeding across the playground like a comet, stopping for no one. It was a partner race, and his team mate was a lot smaller and more fragile looking in contrast, but still followed right behind him. They won, and Ace and I smiled and laughed along with them. It wasn't until I saw Skye lying the grass that I noticed something was off. What was she doing? She pressed her hands to the Earth, and suddenly, a tiny, barely visible flower protruded from the soil. She grinned in triumph, but her smile faltered when she sensed me watching.
"I-I was just planting it. I-I didn't d-do anything," she stuttered when I came for a closer look.
"No," I objected. "You grew that flower yourself, out of nothing,"
She played with her hands. "Please don't tell anybody. I don't wanna be called a freak,"
I shook my head. "I won't. I'm actually kinda weird myself,"
"My name's Skye," she smiled hesitantly, her light blue eyes glistening a little. "The big guy's Demitri,"
"Can he make plants come shooting from the Earth too?!" The thought was incredible!
She let out a laugh. "No, it's just me. But he's like a Superhero or something; it's so cool!"
I let Skye and Demitri in on Ace and I's hidden talents, and it was like we were all connected that way. We all shared that same 'different' gene, if that's what you want to call it. We embraced it, and found other things we had in common. Once we even wondered if we were related, but judging from the extreme differences in our looks, it wasn't a likely possibility.
Skye was short beyond belief, had bright blue eyes, and white-blond hair. Demitri seemed like the exact opposite-tall, muscular. He had light brown hair, brown eyes, and a dorky smile he always flashed when he won a competition. Ace was always changing her appearance at will. She could even change the color schemes on her clothing, but her original hair color is dark brown. I have another power that never quite comes in handy. I have blond hair, a few shades darker than Skye's, and brown highlights-that change color depending on my mood. It usually just goes from blond when I'm being reckless, to brown when I'm feeling happy, and black when I'm sad. The colors come in only when I get angry, but if I concentrate enough, I can control the strands from changing whenever I get the urge to smack someone.
So there you have it; now you're in on our secret identities as well.
Okay...perhaps we're all extremely different.