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By Guennar Reyer All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Chapter 1

Matt didn’t bother asking if I wanted to order anything. I’d come to the café enough times for him to recognize when I was in one of my moods. Instead, he dropped a cube of sugar in my coffee, and left to wait another table. I didn’t need to strain to catch the tone the girl at the table used with him, she definitely wanted his attention.

 I didn’t hold it against Matt, but a twinge of frustration had me momentarily narrowing my eyes. We’d gone on a few dates before and they’d gone great, but emotionally he just wasn’t available. At first I’d thought he was looking for a way to let me down easy. But when I’d confronted him he explained he needed to work through some things. Anyone could say that—sure—but his eyes told me the truth; hurt and betrayal reflected there. I knew that look all too well, and understood.

We decided to stay friends, but I couldn’t deny I thought about him from time to time. How could I not? Tall, deep brown eyes, and a perpetual five o’clock plus overtime look that made my breath catch anytime I let my mind stray. Not to mention his personality. When I thought about it he reminded me a lot of—my eyes drifted from the window to the other table forcing his image from my head.

I smiled when I saw Matt blushing. He really didn’t know how to handle assertive women. Not that he disliked them. He just happened to think he wasn’t anything special, so it always caught him by surprise when a girl expressed interest. I guess that made him the humble type. Another point towards attractiveness.

Matt smiled at the girl, saying something and eliciting a laugh. My smile dropped, and my eyes returned to the window.

Face it Nora, you’re just looking for a distraction from the situation at hand. He is a nice distraction though. But still a distraction. 

The weather outside matched my mood—chilly rain and warm sun. In the distance thunder rumbled, echoing down the street. Not foreboding or anything, but I couldn’t ignore the unease settling in my stomach.

Why were they making me do this? I’d already seen the doctors, it’d been confirmed. I didn’t inherit my parent’s gift. Well, the world’s gift. I fell into the ten percent born without the ability despite being third generation direct descent. It was a mystery neither my parents nor the doctors could explain. I’d just got the short end of the stick…like everything else in life.

Across from me, Justine let out a sigh and set the menu down.

“You’re going to throw off the flavor if you don’t mix the sugar in,” she said. A grunt on my part had her eyes rolling. “Any idea when you’ll be done pouting like a princess?”

My eyes snapped to her and my lips thinned. She knew I hated being called that, especially since I was the exact opposite: short, black hair, nose and lip piercing—all products of my teenage years when I looked for every chance to rebel against my parents. She was just trying to get a rise out of me.

But I couldn’t help it as my glare broke into chuckle and I shook my head. She knew how to snap me out of these moods. Straight forward and honest if not blunt, I’d expect nothing less from my best friend. She knew me better than anyone, even my own parents, and the reason why I wanted to spend my remaining time on Earth with her instead of them.

Justine twirled her finger up, and the spoon next to my coffee rose into the air and then slipped into my drink, stirring it. She was a nova, like my parents, like the rest of the world. The ability to harness ones’ own energy and exert it on the physical world.

Novae were the result of a project run by GASPR, or Global Aeronautics and Space Research. After breaking the mystery of dark matter, it was only a few more years before they harnessed the dark energy radiating from it. I didn’t know the specifics. I didn’t really care either since I couldn’t use it, but apparently scientists found a connection between dark energy and the energy given off by humans.

“Quit showing off,” I said flicking the spoon out of my coffee and taking a sip. 

“I will if you lighten up.”

“Kinda hard when your parents are forcing you to have more tests done.”

Justine rested a cheek in her hand and raised an eyebrow. “C’mon on Nora, you should be excited you get to go to GASPR’s main research facility. Not many civilians get to—it’s the experience of a lifetime.”

“Jealous,” I asked smirking. I had to raise my voice over the thunder.

“Who wouldn’t be?”

I hummed tapping my chin, “Someone like me?”

Justine’s eyes scanned the ceiling again and said, “Even a dwarf like you could enjoy the trip if you’d actually allow yourself.”

Dwarf. Short for dwarf star. A term for someone unable to use their energy.

“The only thing I’ll enjoy about this trip is getting to use the telescopes on board,” I said sitting back sighing. “I bet Halley’s Comet will look amazing.”

Justine smiled, “Exactly. You’ll have access to some of the greatest technology while you’re there. It should help to pass the three months you’ll be trapped 250 miles above the Earth.”

“Don’t remind me,” I muttered sipping more coffee. I winced as thunder shook the window next to us. 

Justine looked confused, and turned to the window, “Have you seen any lightning?”

I blinked, realizing I hadn’t. Looking out the window too, my eyes widened as a massive blast lifted a car off its wheels and hurtled it straight at us.

A scream tore from my lips, Justine shouted something, and a hand yank me backwards out of the booth.
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