The first time was when I was in 8th grade, roughly 12 years ago. I was in Mrs. Gordon's math class, bored out of my mind and drifting into day dreams.
She stood at the front of the classroom, writing on the smart-board, laying out equations I had no hope of understanding. Nobody was really paying attention, but Mrs. Gordon was a nice enough teacher that no one was being disruptive either.
As I sat there, arm propped up and head rested I found myself staring intently at Mrs. Gordon's stomach. I wasn't being perverted or anything weird like that, but something in my mind was drawing my attention to it.
It was as if I had lost control of my thinking, only able to focus on my middle aged teacher's stomach area. I stared and stared my head beginning to pulse and my eyes burning and watery before it happened.
First, Mrs. Gordon stopped writing on the board. She turned towards the class with a pained look in her face.
I remember Cassie Ramirez speaking up before anyone else. "Hey, Mrs. Gordon? You ok?"
By this point everyone had turned their attention to the teacher. I was still staring, almost hypnotized.
"I think...I think there's something wrong with me." Mrs. Gordon said grasping at her body. "I don't- I don't-"
It happened fast. Her stomach began to move, pumping up and down, up and down. She let out a wail and lifted up the bottom of her shirt. Her skin moved and turned almost like something was alive in her. She continued to scream as blood flew from her mouth, hitting Marco Bustamante in the face.
There was chaos in the classroom as her bellybutton suddenly burst and her intestines flew out, splattering on the floor. Blood gushed from her midriff while her lifeless body crumpled to the floor.
I broke from my trance as everybody ran from the room, screaming, crying, panicking. I followed suit.
Nobody knew what had happened to her. Not the police, not her family, not the other students.
But I knew it was me.
From that day forward I knew that I had to be careful and remain control of my mind. No drinking, no drugs, no more mental slip ups. I wasn't gonna let my power mutilate anyone again.
I made that promise to myself before I met Travis Jennings.
Travis showed up my senior year of high school and was immediately a negative presence in the lives of anyone who came into contact with him.
He was a mean teen with the worst attitude in the whole school. The other students didn't like him, the teacher didn't, no one did.
I tried everything to avoid him but he had a tendency to find me and make me miserable. Beating me up, calling me names, even spitting on me. He made the whole high school a hell.
There had been many times I had considered using my power to put an end to him. I'd even imagine it sometimes, stopping myself before falling into the trance. But man, did I want to.
I even dreamed about it sometimes. Imagining his guts flying out of him and watching him collapse to the floor like Mrs. Gordon had. But this time it would've been deserved.
One day I had been walking through the halls when I felt a hand push into the back of my head and slam it into the wall.
Dazed, I slid to the floor. When I looked up there he was.
"Outta my way."
That was all he said as he strode by me. I had had enough.
I was going to finish him off.
That afternoon I waited outside the school until I saw him. He lumbered about, into the woods on the right side of the school. This was my opportunity.
I stalked him between the trees, my bloodlust rising as I felt like a predator after it's prey. I lost sight of him briefly before finding him again.
He was sat up against a tree, crying.
It was more than crying actually. He was sobbing, loudly. Something was wrong.
"Hey, are you ok?" I asked.
He looked up, angry at first before it faded. "Leave me alone."
I thought about it. Leaving him there or maybe going through with my plan. Something was stopping me, however.
"No." I said. "You can talk to me."
He looked up like an abused dog, tears in his eyes. He was truly suffering and he let it all out. His father was an abusive drunk who beat him daily. But sometimes, he said, it went beyond beating. If his father couldn't find a woman for the night...well, he'd take advantage of Travis. He let every horrible detail out.
"Travis...Jesus man I'm so sorry."
He continued to sob. "I don't know what to do anymore."
"What about like CPS or something? You can maybe-"
He shook his head. "That's never worked before. It's always just led to more issues. I'm almost eighteen and maybe I can be out of there soon. I know I've always caused problems and been an asshole to you, but I'm sorry. Thanks for listening."
And with that he stood up and walked back the way he had came. I continued to sit by the tree, thinking about what I had almost done to him. It was a wake up call to be more considerate with my powers. To not give in to the temptation.
But then Travis went missing.
He hadn't been seen in days, and while the students and staff of the school were relieved, I felt nervous. I still didn't completely like Travis, but he had endeared himself to me and our conversation couldn't escape my mind.
Days turned into weeks, I had hoped he had run off and gotten away from his sick father, off to find a better life. It was the only hope I had.
Until they found his body.
Off to the side, in a field not too far from the train tracks they found him. Ravaged by birds and coyotes he was almost unrecognizable. Still they were able to determine that he had been murdered.
Whispers were abound in town as to who did it and within those rumors a name kept appearing. Seymour Jennings, Travis' father.
And not only was he Travis' father he was also cousin to Sheriff Ron Jennings. There was no hope for justice.
Travis' case was technically considered unsolved but most knew what had happened. With this, I knew it was time to set my new plan into motion.
I saw his father on the corner of Midkiff and Maine, standing idly, not knowing what was coming his way. I looked to him and for the first time in years let my mind take over.
The pulsing in my brain, the burning of my eyes, I could feel it grabbing hold of me. Power, bloody and evil, but power.
Seymour looked up suddenly. It had begun.
He looked confused as he laid his hand over his swollen belly. It twisted and turned as he began to scream.
"HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
A crowd of people rushed towards him as he fell to the floor, his screams echoing in the street. Blood flooded from him mouth and his stomach inflated. His eyes bulged, becoming blood shot.
He wasn't gonna get off easy.
I focused more intensely. Much more than I had on Mrs. Gordon.
His eyes burst from his head leaving tendons hanging from the eye socket. He squirmed as his arms and legs began to twist, his bones beginning to jut from his flesh. I focused and crushed his ribs, he howled in pain as I did.
Finally, it was time for the big finish.
His stomach, inflated, rising and rising until suddenly his belly button popped sending his intestines flying into the air. The crowd of people was covered in his blood and viscera, screaming and running like the students had during class.
The trance faded from me. I got up and walked home.
Much like with Mrs. Gordon, investigators were baffled. Had spontaneous combustion become a reality for this town? Two people within five years? Unheard of.
Ultimately, no cause was found and it was considered to be some kind of freak reaction to something. Nobody knew what happened.
But I did.