“While we’ve been experimenting with the abilities, we’ve been developing” Luke said, addressing not only myself but the group at large. “We’ve also been cautious not to use them unnecessarily until we come to a greater understanding of them. While they’re exciting, although not exactly the most reliable sources, we know from more than a few film franchises that abilities, such as those that we’ve been developing, appear to be powerful enough to pose at least some danger to ourselves if used inappropriately”.
Everyone nodded in agreement, listening intently to what, for argument’s sake, was their leader of sorts. The sincerity of his words unnerved me a little. Although I hadn’t been downplaying what appeared to be the new reality for each of us that had blinked out, witnessing the abilities I’d heard so much about had become an exciting prospect; in some ways, a show of sorts. Luke’s words however forced me to take such things a little more seriously, especially considering I myself could begin to develop such abilities of my own.
“In saying that,” he said, a small smirk developing. “We don’t want Lexi here to be disappointed with what she’s about to witness”.
A wave of excitement, particularly within the younger ones, buzzed through the group, excited whispers being exchanged in all directions.
“While new and not understood however, we also cannot sit around hoping that all of our questions will be mysteriously answered. For all we know, we’re alone. We’ve all been convinced, and on the most part still are, Eddie’s seizures making such convictions more likely, that something is coming, whether it be good or bad. We have to be prepared for either the latter, or the scarier alternative that we are in fact alone. Thus, testing the limits of our abilities, if done responsibly, would also be an exceptionally wise decision. Isn’t that right?” he said, the final words clearly an attempt to lighten his words and appease to the younger ones’ excitement.
Once again, the group nodded, the grins on each of the faces of the youngsters making it clear that they hadn’t listened to Luke’s cautions, the prospect of using their abilities without restraint being all that filtered through their leaders’ words.
Noticing this, Luke’s smirk widened. “Each of you will go in turn. You will keep a distance from the rest of the group, and I’ll be right here if anything happens. Klaus?” he said, eyeing the blonde-haired boy. “How about you go first?”.
The kid’s patted Klaus on the back, nudging him forwards, a grin forming on his youthful face that didn’t quite match his matured eyes.
“It appears” he said, grabbing a chair from one of the nearby tents. “that I have developed the ability of telekinesis. While I wish I had an ability that wasn’t so… mainstream, well, in the fictional world anyway, I have to admit it is pretty cool”.
Placing the chair on the floor once he’d created a great enough distance from himself and the group, he proceeded to take a step back and focus his attention on the chair. I’d expected him to raise an arm or even both, but he simply seemed to focus on it before it raised from the ground. Once the chair hovered maybe a metre or so above his head, while still keeping his attention on the furniture that now defied gravity, his gaze lowered to meet that of the group.
“I’ve not tried anything more advanced than raising the odd object, but I’d like to attempt to test if there’s a restriction in my capabilities when it comes to distance or mass” he said simply, as if the exceptional, ground-breaking thing he, a twelve-year-old boy, was making happen was no more impressive that kicking a football.
Luke nodded. “Knock yourself out.”
The chair began to rise higher and higher still, Klaus merely holding his gaze on the object with seemingly little effort. At about twenty feet, however, the chair began to look a little unsteady before its gravity began to return and it began to fall at speed. Klaus stepped back calmly and watched as the chair made contact with the solid ground, a single leg splintering instantly as another ploughed into the dirt.
“Just over twenty feet,” he said, grinning a little. “Certainly more than I expected. Now for mass he said,” a tad of uncertainty seeping through his voice as he eyed the group. “While the chair weighed maybe four to five kilos, I’d like to see if I can raise a person” he said, looking to the group as he hinted for a volunteer.
The crowd was silent, some still in awe from his little stunt and others not wanting to experience the same fate as the chair.
“I dropped the chair intentionally,” he said, as if this would help his case. “It wasn’t as if I lost control.”
“I suppose it could be fun” a boy called Adrian grinned, and I recognised him as the boy who blinked out second to Luke himself.
He was a skinny boy with dark eyes that complemented his ebony hair. He made his way over to Klaus, a slight hesitation evident in his step despite his expression of excitement.
“Just don’t… you know, intentionally drop me too” he smiled, the group laughing nervously.
“Don’t worry” Klaus smirked. “This isn’t about height.”
Without warning, Adrian’s feet parted from the ground, a high-pitched yelp exited his parted lips. Klaus raised him maybe five feet before holding him steady.
“This is so cool” Adrian gasped, his voice no more than a whisper. “I’m flying!”
“Do you feel any pain or any sort of force holding you?”
Adrian shook his head. “Nothing at all. I just feel like I’m… like I’m sort of floating”.
“Good,” Klaus said, lowering the boy. “I wasn’t entirely sure if it would cause any harm to you”.
“And yet you still tested your abilities on me?”
Klaus shrugged. “Luke said to test the extent of my abilities. Plus, I was pretty certain.”
“Do you think you can raise yourself?” Luke asked, impressed with what he’d see so far.
Klaus shook his head. “I’ve already tried that. It’s why I wanted to try to lift someone in the first place. I now know that it wasn’t my weight restricting my abilities, it just appears I can’t raise myself.”
“OK” Luke said, rubbing his palms together. “Who’s next?”
Nearly every individual raised their hand except for me, and Luke smiled. “Alice. Let’s see what you’ve got”.
The young girl with golden plaits skipped forwards excitedly. “Mine’s kind of strange as a few of you know” she said, twiddling her fingers, “But I still think it’s pretty cool”.
While Klaus’s ability was something of great power, I sensed that Alice’s would be more intriguing.
“I’d choose a volunteer, but that wouldn’t be quite as fun.” she smirked.
Alice shut her eyes, and after a minute or so of anticipation, a young girl called Sophia started stepping back into the ground, initially muttering inaudible words.
“No, no, no, no” she muttered, a little louder this time. “Get it away from me!”.
I frowned, not entirely sure what was going on. Despite being near the back of the group, I still had a clear view of the space that Sophia seemed to be gawping out, but it was merely empty space.
“It’s getting closer!” Sophia shrieked. “Stop it, Alice! It’ll kill me! Stop it!”
Alice giggled as she opened her eyes, and my confusion increased even further and Sophia began to calm down, glaring at Alice half-heartedly as she did so.
“If you couldn’t tell” Luke said, his eyes on me as he spoke. “Alice is able to make people see whatever she wants them to. Do you want to enlighten us on what you just made Sophia see?”
“A turtle” Alice giggled to the surprise of the rest of the group.
“A turtle?!” Adrian laughed, eyeing Sophia. “You were terrified of a turtle?!”
“They’re creepy” Sophia mumbled defensively, diverting her attention to Alice, anger turning into amusement. “Don’t do that again”
“Is there anything you want to try out?”
Alice shrugged. “I suppose I can see how many people I can make see things, I’m not entirely sure if it’s limited to just one person or not”.
Luke nodded. “Lexi and Andre. Step towards Alice. Eddie and Charles” he continued, the latter of which I hadn’t yet been introduced to. “You stand either side”.
I stepped forwards with the others, uncertain but excited at the same time.
“Well this should be interesting,” Andre smirked as he joined my side. “You nervous?”
“No” I lied, much to his amusement. “Maybe a little”.
“Let’s hope she’s not too mean.”
Before I could respond, I found myself flinching instinctively as a bird soared mere centimetres over my head. I looked up, a murmuration of birds flying low above us, the differing colours collectively creating an almost rainbow effect. Multiple murmurations joined, seemingly half the sky filled with the elegant site of a species of bird so stunning, I wasn’t even sure it truly existed.
“It’s beautiful” I whispered, looking up at Andre who seemed just as awed.
The sounds were just as stunning, bird song all consuming. The birds arced and rolled like waves, gliding elegantly in a clear blue, cloudless sky. With each dip Andre and I seemed to crouch, our eyes utterly unable to leave the stunning site. It was mesmerising. Just as quickly as it appeared however, it was gone. It was almost disorientating as my brain adjusted to reality. As I was coming around, I noticed Andres eyeline lower and I followed his line of sight. Amongst it all, I seemed to have grabbed Andre’s arm. I looked up at him, my cheeks reddening.
“Sorry,” I said sheepishly, letting go as I did so. “Coming out of that was sort of like the first few moments when waking up with a hangover.”
Andre laughed. “Tell me about it. I didn’t even know where I was”.
“How many of you saw it?” Luke asked, my gaze diverting to that of his.
“I didn’t” Eddie said, looking over at Charles who shook his head as well.
“Just us two then” I said, my eyes not leaving Luke’s.
“Still impressive,” he said, looking at Alice. “For all we know, the more we use our abilities, the stronger they will get. Adam, you’re up next.”
Adam displayed his ability next, and it was impressive to say the least. Upon touching any new material, from the earth to the wood from the chair Klaus had now made unusable, his molecular make up seemed to mutate, the genetic markers from such materials integrating themselves into his DNA. He still had his own silhouette, but as opposed to human flesh and bone, he became that of what he made contact with. How that worked biologically, I had no idea. But with all the unanswered questions that were piling higher by the hour, what was one more?
One by one, each individual stepped forwards and displayed their newfound ability, my brain having to comprehend the impossibilities of inhuman speed, invisibility, the ability to materialise objects or absorb written information without the necessity to read. Andre’s inhuman strength, Adrian’s ability to communicate telepathically and Sophia’s ability to drill below ground and simply reverse her spin to travel horizontally upwards were some of my personal favourites.
We were witnessing what was impossible both in human and scientific standards and yet all seemed to take it in our stride, accepting it because we had no other choice. At the moment it didn’t seem so bad. My life before, although comfortingly predictable and just about financially secure, was the definition of mundane. It was safe. I didn’t take risks. I dated without a view to settle down and spent most evenings curled up on a sofa watching whatever Netflix had to offer. Social media took up too much of my time, and except for the regular customers I had pleasant chats with, I’d drifted from most of my friends. I’d say that would mean nobody would therefore notice my disappearance, but that wasn’t a problem either. Somehow, I was still there, or at least the woman who’d been living the same day for the past twelve years was.
I keep trying to hypothesise the reasoning behind how there seemed to be two of each of us; one here and one still in the Other London. Are we the real us? Or are they back there living their lives on repeat? Were we cloned? Were we put into some sort of twisted simulation? Or were we somehow put into a four-dimensional plane that allows our three-dimensional selves to be duplicated? Whether I watched too much TV or was going as insane as our new reality, each of my theories, as incomprehensible as they were, seemed just as possible as the other.
Luke snapped me out of my train of thought as he called Eddie’s name.
“Have you made any progress in uncovering what your ability could be?”
The young boy shook his head. “No. I keep trying to, you know, do something, but nothing happens. It doesn’t matter how hard I try or how hard I focus, the result is the same. Nothing”.
“I see,” Luke said, nodding slowly. “You’ve been here, what, two-and-a-half weeks?”
“Charles, you developed your abilities late as well. How long had you been here before you discovered you had telepathy?”
“A little over a week.” he said.
“Maybe I just won’t get any” he shrugged, his deflation evident.
Luke stayed silent, lost in thought.
“Maybe your seizures are your ability,” I said, incidentally voicing my thoughts. “I mean, you hear voices during the day too right?”
Again, the boy nodded.
“With each seizure, Eddie states that ‘they’re coming’. What if, somehow, whatever it is that is coming, is either purposely or incidentally communicating through Eddie?”
Luke nodded, stepping closer as he processed my words. “If the voices are linked to our doing here, which I can only imagine they are, maybe whatever is coming orchestrated this somehow, and is now on their way to either see if their efforts were successful or use us somehow”.
Everybody nodded slowly, this idea being the closest thing we have to an explanation for what’s going on
“So, while Klaus gets to move objects with his mind and Sophia gets to do the closest thing I’ve seen to flying, I get the voices of the sicko’s that have caused all of this?”
Luke smirked. “Think about it Eddie, if Lexi is right, you could be the one to provide us with the complete explanation of exactly what is going on here. You, Eddie, could be our answer.”
Eddie’s mood had changed drastically, a sulk turning into an excited grin. “Cool”.
“Well done, Lexi” he said, strolling over as the group began to disperse, still on a high from using and witnessing each other’s abilities.
“It’s just a theory. I thought you didn’t like theories?”
Luke smirked, stepping a little too close. “I didn’t like anybody else’s theories. Yours, however, is plausible. And plausible, I can work with.”
With that, he walked away, my eyes following as he strolled into the distance. It was plausible, and that’s what scared me. The ideas that revolved around radiation or slip-ups from some secret organisation with some ability inducing chemicals at least had the comfort of the causation being an accident. My theory however didn’t allow for this possibility. My theory revolved around someone or something causing this intentionally. Anyone that would purposely cause all of this, purposely isolate us from the rest of the world and manipulate our DNA to produce abilities no individual should possess, wasn’t someone I wanted to meet. But if they were coming, it didn’t appear we’d have a choice. Having no choice means having no control and having no control was a situation nobody wanted to be in.