"I don't want to."
"How can I believe you when I can't see it with my own eyes?"
Clara is my best friend. She's me only female friend.
We're sitting on the school's roof after school. Both of us are in no hurry to get home. And today, I have decided to let Clara in on a little secret of mine.
I stare at the empty Hello Kitty lunch bag sitting between us. I think one word: up. I lift my finger slightly, and the lunch bag floats in the air before I let it drop.
"That is awesome," says Clara. "How long have you been able to do that?"
"Not that long," I lie. I've been able to do this for almost a year. I can move and lift things with my mind.
"You can't tell anyone, Clara."
"Like I would," she says. "And besides, who would I tell?" I can imagine all the people Clara and her big mouth could tell.
Who would I tell? The question sticks to the back of my mind like old gum as I walk home. It is pretty impressive on my part that I kept this a secret from my family for so long. I have two little brothers, a little sister, and hyper parents at home. My older brother, Kento, is rarely home so he doesn't really count as part of the chaos at home. I could have horns growing out of my head, and it would take him a week to notice.
He and the other Ronin Warriors are out fighting evil or whatever. I'm not supposed to know that. My family doesn't know. All they know is that Kento received some ceremonial armor as birthday present from Grandpa years ago, but I don't remember much of that. This is mostly a lie too.
No one remembers what happened almost a year ago. The city was overtaken by darkness and an army of evil demons and junk. And no one remembers this but me.
I was at school when it happened. Everyone was taken but me. They left me alone and took everyone else. In the beginning, I felt guilty about my family and the others, but how could I have been any help captured too? Anyways, the Ronin Warriors saved everyone, and everyone returned home like nothing had happened.
I began noticing changes in myself after everyone came back. Changes in what I could do. I could lock doors while still in my bedroom. I could hide the TV remote from my brothers so I could quietly read without ever leaving my room. If I thought it, it would happen. Realistic things, of course, like moving stuff. Not wishes or anything ridiculous. That would be crazy.
I thought nothing of my powers at first. They made life at home tolerable. However, after I began to have nightmares, headaches, and nosebleeds, I began to care about the origin or cause of my powers. I think I read too many comic books.
I throw my current worries aside as I stop on the sidewalk in front of my house. It is going to be more hectic than usual very soon at the Rei Fuan house. The Festival of Fireflies is tomorrow night and luck would have it, our family restaurant will be catering the event. Mom is most likely going over the food options right now for the millionth time in the restaurant's kitchen or trying to find something more ridiculous for me to wear at the event.
And perhaps more importantly, Kento is coming home tomorrow with the rest of the guys. The guys will be staying in our guest rooms for the festival for as long as they want or until summer break is over. They are honorary siblings and children of the family. Everyone believes the guys have been away on a field trip or study abroad program or something. Yeah right. More like fighting evil or something.
Chun Fa is running through the sprinkler in the front yard while Yun and Mei Ryu are wrestle in the yard, arguing over some comic book hero. Mei Ryu is right, by the way. Yun just wants to fight about something. Chun Fa gives me a wet hug before I am able to pull myself through the front door.
There is a letter on the fridge from Mom. Of course. Mom and Dad will be home late. I am to try on my festival dress that is in my room on my bed. And I am to march back outside and keep an eye on my younger siblings. I swear, the woman has eyes everywhere.
I grab a drink from the fridge and "march my ass" back outside. I sit on the porch bench, curled into a ball, and read. In cases like this, I miss Kento. He would be out there playing with them. I prefer to read and watch from afar. I love them, but it is very to have too much of them.
The boys' wresting match is becoming a little too heated. A quick wave of my index finger and the boys are dosed with the sprinkler water. The boys' fight cools off. They agree that rolling on the wet lawn is more fun than fighting on the wet lawn.
I smile at how much control I have gained over my powers. With a flick of my hand or fingers, I could control things quite easily now.
"What are you reading?" asks Chun Fa. She is now standing in front of me. I can see her toes wiggle. She is struggling so hard not to give me another big wet hug.
"A story book," I reply.
"You're such a terrible liar, Rinfi," Chun Fa says. "You're reading one of those not fun science books." At six years old, the kid could read people better than any hard boiled private eye.
"Fine. I'm reading a book about genetics. No princesses. What gave me away?"
"I don't know," she says. "I just know you're lying. You're silly."
"No, you are." I say, showing my maturity.
Chun Fa runs back into the yard to her sprinkler. I continue to read. The book is a collection of case studies on persons with bizarre genetic mutations, gifting these people special attributes and habits. I think most of the cases in the book are bullshit. None are even comparable to what is happening to me. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
I try to keep my sighs of disappointment and embarrassment to myself as I stare at the fat cow in the full length mirror before me. This dress is meant for someone taller and with smaller boobs. Someone like Clara, not her fat sidekick in this story.
The dress is made of red and orange silky fabric and is tied off with a blue belt. It is too tight in my chest and at my hips. A stuffed sausage. A plump little doll. You name it. I look like it. I have the feeling that if I wear this dress tomorrow night, my tombstone will read: Rinfi Rei Fuan. Died too young. Bitch should not have worn that dress.
I manage to maneuver out of the dress without ripping it and fling the accursed thing onto my bed. I quietly curse the thing and slip into a tank top and boxers. The rest of the house is asleep. Mom and Dad finally got home at midnight. It is 1:30am. I am not tired. I have not needed much sleep for the past couple of weeks. I haven't been tired or hyper. I have just been awake and content.
I open my bedroom window and climb out the window and onto the roof. The vines growing on the side of the house supported me when I was nine and still support my fat ass now. God works in mysterious ways.
I sit on the roof, my back against the chimney, and watch the night world. The glow of the city blocks most of the stars overhead but not all. A few birds flap past. A few cats fight. The drunk two doors down finally stumbles home after a night of drinking, self-pity, and complaining about his wife. His wife is waiting for him at the front door. He drunkenly tells her he loves her and that she is the best thing that has ever happened to him. I feel a frying pan to the head is in his future.
I enjoy the show and enjoy gently swaying the tree in the backyard back and fourth with my hand. The flowers from the tree gently fall to the ground. Something is different with me. The powers, I know, duh. But something else is different with me. I feel different. I feel calmer like something missing has been filled in me. Now, I am content with watching flowers fall in the backyard.
I remember when I first used my powers unintentionally. I was taking Chun Fa downtown to get her a new formal dress for the big family get together that happens every five years. Every Rei Fuan in a hundred miles would be there, eating and sharing battle stories.
It was my duty, as the eldest sibling at home, to take Chun Fa. Kento was off fighting evil. Chun Fa ran out into traffic after she let go of the pink balloon she had cried and whined for while we were looking at dresses earlier in the day. I ran to grab her and pull her out of the street. The oncoming car slammed to a stop before us. Not because of breaks but because the car had smashed into something I couldn't see.
I grabbed Chun Fa and ran as far and fast as I could away from the scene. I didn't know what had happened then. I know now. I protected Chun Fa. Somehow, I stopped that car from killing the both of us. The following day, the city was overtaken by an evil army, so no one remembered a thing.
I can't replicate what had happened that day. I can't destroy or stop things, no matter how hard I try or how hard I focus. I tell a glass to shatter, it does nothing. I try to stop moving cars, nothing but angry people honking horns and yelling at me.
I see a shooting star, probably an airplane, before I call it quits for the early morning. I make a wish. Please God or shooting star or fairy godmother, get me out of festival work tonight. I am wishing upon a star. How lame. Damn Disney movies.
I fall asleep a little before 3am and wake at 6am. I feel like I have gotten twelve hours of good sleep.
Mornings are interesting in my house. One bathroom for all the children. One bathroom for the parents, away from the children. That says it all.
I grab a Special K bar for breakfast and am out the door before Mom can ask about the damn dress/torture device.
School is the same as always. Boring. I am waiting for the accelerated program to begin soon. I have already tested out of my current subjects. Clara probably could too, but she sleeps too much in class.
We spend lunch at our usual spot on the roof. Clara pressures me into trying new things with my powers. I am able to set off teachers' cars' alarms down in the parking lot. We enjoy watching the teachers fight with each other on their smoke breaks over who's messing with their cars.
While we are laughing, it dawns on me why I am content. Maybe it is because these powers are mine and only mine. No siblings have stolen them, destroyed them, or lost them. No one besides Clara knows about them. They are mine, not made for someone else like that stupid dress.
"What are you thinking about?" Clara asks.
"Maybe you're right," I say. "Maybe I should stop trying to figure this thing out and just enjoy it. Go with the flow and all that crap."
"Holy crap. I was right," says Clara. I pour a little of my soul out here and that is all she hears. And people wonder why I keep to myself.
The school bell finally rings, dismissing students and teachers for summer break. The teachers beat the students out of the building. Clara can't stay. Something about visiting her Grandmother or something. I stay on the roof, trying to stall the inevitable.
The parking lot is now bare. No students in sight. It is quiet and peaceful. I could fall asleep up here, if I were tired. Still, I close my eyes. I am jolted to my feet by the loud roar.
I peer over the edge of the roof and see Whiteblaze sitting there, waiting for me. The guys are back. I double check. No one in sight.
"I'll be down in a sec!" No point in fighting it. I leap off the building.