Chapter Four: Reminiscing
It all started about two years ago, when I was thirteen. Actually, that's not really true… It started when I was younger than that. Ugh, this is hard!
Okay. Lets start from the very beginning and see where that takes us.
For as long as I can remember, I've absolutely adored books. Just as a reference, I was never introduced into the wonderful world of comics until I was about 12. Anyways, I've always felt this… my God this is hard to explain… lets go with… connection to everything I have ever read in my entire life. And, before you ask, it's not a I-can-connect-to-what-this-character-is-going-through kind of connection, because that would be completely crazy, if I could relate on such a deep level to every book I get my hands on… Off topic, sorry. No, its more like… argh, how should I put this… understanding of the book on a deep level, almost as if I'm not reading the book to pass time, but the book has come to me and is revealing its secrets to me, like it trusts me completely and is holding nothing back.
Wow. That makes me sound like I'm completely insane. Which I'm not. My mother had me tested. Not really, but I've always wanted to say that… I think I need to lay off The Big Bang Theory for a while…
Oops, sorry, way off topic again… Okay, so. Deep connection with books. Right. Anyways, besides connecting with books, I also get way too angry when I see anyone mistreating a book in any way, shape or form. Which is, I suppose, the real start of my tale.
God, that sounded really bad! Moving on…
It was at school one day in grade eight. Near the end of the year, in May, I think, so that would have made me… 13, but barely. My birthday's on April 12th… I just can't stay on topic today, can I? So, I was not having a good day at all that particular Tuesday. Don't ask me how I remember that it was a Tuesday, I just do. Looking back on it now, it was probably one of the very worst days of my elementary school existence, but there was no major reason why. I suppose it was just a bunch of little things that were pressing down on me that day.
Like that I had run out of tinted contacts that day, so I had to walk around with my freaky eyes exposed all day, and it was Tuesday, which was gym day (maybe that's why I remember the day so clearly) and I absolutely loathe gym class, especially that year because I had the teacher from hell. Oh, and there was that science assignment I forgot at dad's house, so Mrs. Janack made me stay in at recess and redo it. And it was that time of month, so the world was just gloomier in general in my eyes.
'Kay, now that I'm done ranting, I'll actually move on with the story. So, I was not a happy camper that day, and I was just generally in an arbitrary-lovely word, arbitrary- mood to top it all off.
After a double math period, which was probably another thing that didn't help my bad mood, it was the end of the day. I was walking down the hall to my locker when I saw him. The bane of my existence, Thomas Elliot. He was a major jock, I was a bookworm, he was popular, I hardly had, or have even still, any friends, he barely scraped by classes, I was almost a straight-A student. You get the idea. I had never liked him. However, he had decided that he was going to make me his "conquest of the month" as I like to call it. Please. As if I was just going to fall down at his feet like every other girl did. I'm much stronger than that. But, he was very persistent, I'll give him that. Persistent to the point that I wanted to beat him to a pulp not just verbally as I always did, but physically too. Which would have been a feat and a half, considering size difference and such. Then again, I did take mixed martial arts for two years, and judo for another three…
I know, I know. Off topic, What else is new? This particular day, I was in no mood to have Thomas hit on me, so I walked very quickly towards my locker with my head down, hoping to avoid him sighting me.
Just my luck, he saw me anyways and walked over immediately. I started to rush to put my things away and get the hell out of there. Alas, it was a futile attempt. He walked faster than I could cram books into my bag. I suppose it was my own fault, carrying a mini-library around in there. I always have, I still do, and I suppose I always will. But, back to the story at hand.
"Hey, Christabel! 'Sup, my girl?" He called down the hall, and, sure enough, heads turned. I hunched over my bag and tried to shove books in faster. It didn't really work, and I wrinkled the cover of "H.I.V.E: The Overlord Protocol". I nearly started crying, and didn't even notice Tom come up beside me. I was completely absorbed in frantically trying to get the crease out of the cover of one of my favourite books. I was having a bit of a freak out I'll admit…
He waltzed right up to me and slung his arm around my shoulders, saying, " I said hey to you, Christa. Aren't you gonna answer me?"
I'll admit it outright. I shrieked. Very, very loudly, and very, very shrilly. I also flung my book about a foot into the air, whirled around into a defensive position, and was about to throw my first punch when I realized it was him.
"Oh, its you." I said flatly, keeping my eyes downcast.
"Yeah, its me, babe! How are you on this lovely Tuesday?"
"Oh, I'm simply amazing, its been the best day of my ENTIRE life!" I squealed like one of his stupid, pretty girl friends, but in a mocking, sarcastic manner. I paused a moment for dramatic effect, then added in my normal voice, "And don't call me babe."
"Don't call me that either."
"What can I call you then?"
"Nothing. I'd actually prefer it if you didn't talk to me at all."
"Aww, c'mon Christa, don't be like that…"
I had had enough by that point, so I picked up my book from the ground and turned to leave, not intending to say another word to him. But noooo, he just had to be an idiot and grab my arm, forcing me to turn around and face him.
"Let me go, Tom."
"Talk to me and be civil about it and I just might."
"I think that's the most complex word I've ever heard you utter."
"Utter? What the heck does that mean?"
I sighed. How stupid could a guy get? "It means say. It's the most complex word I've ever heard you say."
"I said civil? When?"
"About a minute ago, you told me to talk to you in a civil manner."
"You talk funny."
"What do you mean, I talk funny?"
"The way you say things. It's weird."
"As in not normal?"
"When have I ever given you any hint that I am, in fact, normal?"
"Damn you're confusing, Christa."
"Can I be done being civil now? Because you don't make for a very interesting conversation Tom…"
"One more question."
I sighed again, already having a pretty good idea what was going to come next. "What?"
"Will you go out with me?"
"…What did I tell you when you asked me that in math class twenty minutes ago?"
"That's right! So, what on earth gave you the idea that I might have changed my mind?"
"Precisely. So, we can now infer that my response to this inquiry remains the same."
"I hate it when you pull out the fancy talk on me."
"Good. Will you leave me alone now?"
He didn't reply, so I took this as my cue to leave. However, I turned to the left, leaving the hand that my poor, creased book was being held in in Toms' direction. He took this opportunity to use his superior strength to wrestle the paperback novel out of my hands. Looking smug, he held it high above his head.
I had started to analyze the situation immediately, looking for the best course of action. The hallways were empty, save for Toms idiot friends and a couple of first graders waiting for their parents. The teachers were all in a staff meeting, so I could expect no help from them. The fact that he was holding the book above his six foot-ish frame meant that I couldn't reach it, even if I were to jump. I could probably have taken him down in a fight, but most of my tricks involve him charging at me, not the other way around. Plus, a fight could damage my precious book even more. So I was left with trying to reason with him. I remember thinking Great. This is not going to end well…
"Give me back my book, Tom" I said, still keeping my eyes down.
"Say you'll go out with me then" he replied. He looked so smug, I wanted to punch that smirk right off his face. That's when I had an idea.
I sighed as if defeated. "Fine." I said. He looked slightly shocked, before replying in an equally shocked tone, "Really?"
"Yes," I said. "On one condition."
"You name it."
I smiled slightly. This was too easy.
"This condition has two parts. The first is that, no matter what the result of the other part, you must give me back my book in decent shape. Do you agree to this?"
"For sure, Christa!"
"Don't call me Christa!… The second part of the condition is this; tell me what what I'm about to say means: 'So one can see that quantum entanglement is a serious issue when it comes to devising effective teleportation techniques, but those very same problems could be usefully harnessed, in theory at least, in the development of effective disintegration technology. I'll go into greater detail about this next week and by then I expect you to have studied the first three chapters of Igor Kreuzmann's seminal work on offensive beam weaponry, No, I Expect You to Die. Class dismissed.'"
Oh, I think I forgot to mention that I also remember everything I read word-for-word. The doctor calls eidetic memory. I call it really awesome, especially at that particular point in time.
Tom looked at his friends for help, but they looked just as bewildered as he did. In what I assume was an effort to buy time he asked me "Where in the world did you hear that? And how did you remember it word for word?"
Smirking slightly at the obvious confusion in his voice I replied "I didn't hear it anywhere. I read it in a book." Lowering my voice to a low mummer, I decided to try and unnerve him slightly. Raising my head, but with my eyes still downcast, I started by saying, "As for how I remembered it…" I snapped my eyes up to lock on his, continuing with, "I remember everything I read, Tom."
Tom took an unconscious step backwards at the sight of my eyes. I felt a slight twinge of hurt-were they really that freaky?- but mostly satisfaction at seeing him squirm.
"What's the matter, Tom? You scared? C'mon, its just little old Christa" I said the nickname in a mocking manner, "who could never hurt a fly, who you mock and tease and hit on for a laugh. Well?" I took a step towards him, still staring right at him, and he shuffled nervously backwards. I stopped after a couple steps and crossed my arms.
"Nothing to say Tom? That's a first…"
He seemed to find an ounce of courage at that point, or perhaps his curiosity just got the better of him and forced him to ask "Wh-what h-happened to-to your eyes? They were bl-blue yesterday…"
I sighed again. He honestly had no idea? Wow… "There's this amazing think called tinted contact lenses. They change your eye colour."
"You're wearing tinted contact lenses?" He seemed to regain some of his former confidence.
"No. I wear contacts every other day. I ran out today, so everyone got to see my real eyes for the very first time. Magnificent, isn't it?"
He shrank back once again, but he still held the ounce of confidence that he had regained moments before, perhaps because he was now close enough to his friends to feel comfortable again. I knew I had to act quickly, before he got too cocky again.
"Give me my book, Tom." I said in a quiet, and what I hoped was menacing voice.
"Make me." he said, a slight grin playing at the edges of his mouth. That's when I realised how he was holding my precious novel.
He had managed to grab it by the side without the spine, and had been too quick to raise it above his head to flip it around. Or, maybe he just didn't care. But, whatever his reason, it meant that the cover of 'The Overlord Protocol' was getting wrinkled slightly, and bent backwards out of shape. I started to panic when I saw how he was mutilating the book, and I felt like I was going to pass out for some weird reason.
Throwing all plans of getting the book back for an instant, I instead focused on getting him to stop destroying one of my most prized possessions.
"Okay, okay!" I hollered, sounding more panicked and desperate that I thought possible. "You don't have to give it back to me, but please, flip it around so that you're holding it by the spine! You're gonna ruin the cover!"
He looked slightly shocked at the power of my outburst. About thirty seconds later, he managed to come up with a reply. Clearly, he had been very thrown by my words.
"Why does it matter so much, anyways? Its just a book…"
His words rang in my ears for and instant before I felt cold fury at his words. Don't ask me why I got so mad, for the answer eludes me to this very day. But, I do know that what happened next was not pretty.
"Just a book?" I began, voice shaking with fury and steadily growing louder. "JUST A BOOK? THAT, MY DEAR BOY IS THE SECOND IN A PHENOMINALLY WELL WRITTEN SERIES OF NOVELS, AND ALSO HAPPENS TO BE ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME! IT IS NOT JUST A BOOK; IT IS A MAGICALLY WOVEN STORY OF DECEIT,BETRAYAL AND MYSTERY. I VALUE IT MORE HIGHLY THAN I DO YOUR WELL-BEING, SO UNLESS YOU FANCY SOME BROKEN BONES IN THE NEXT THRITY-FIVE SECONDS, YOU WILL KINDLY GIVE IT BACK!
I'm not exactly sure what happened after that, but I know there was a flash of golden light, which is the colour that my power takes, and then the book was in my hand, in the pristine condition it had been in before this whole incident had begun. As for how I restored it, I still have no idea. It just sort of…happened. Still working on that with some books I bought from the public library that were in pretty rough shape when I found them. Haven't made any progress yet, but, hopefully I will soon…
Aww man… I was on a roll for not getting off topic, and I just ruined it with the whole library rant. Although, I suppose that was slightly on topic… ah well, too late now, I've messed it up anyhow. 'Kay almost done the story now. Thank God, because my mouth is really dry… I don't generally talk at all so the fact that I've managed all this without taking a break is really quite impressive. Anyhow…
Tom stared at the hand he had been holding my book in in shock, then looked up at me, his eyes wide. I felt as bewildered and confused as he looked. "How did you do that?" he asked me.
"I… I don't know…" I replied honestly. We stared at each other for a minute, before I snapped out of it. Hugging my book close to my chest, I brushed quickly past Tom and his friends, heading in the direction of my home solely through force of habit, deep in thought about what may have happened back in that nearly deserted school hallway.
That incident must have triggered something to make my powers come out, because after that, books started flying off shelves whenever I waked by. But not just any books. No, only books I liked, or in the case of the library, would like. Before each incident, there was always a flash of golden light, and I could hear endless voices whispering within my skull that I somehow just knew were the books I was about to send flying.
Well, I couldn't go around for the rest of my life with books flying everywhere whenever I walked past a shelf of them, so I took up meditation to try and get in control of this power. It took a while, but I finally managed to locate and get control over the part of my brain that the power resided in. At first, the only control I had over it was to keep the tomes from flying around whenever I walked past a book shelf, but, quite by accident, I discovered another use for them.
It was one day in my room, about halfway through July, and I was bored out of my mind, sitting on my floor, wondering what the heck I wanted to do. After a couple minutes of deliberation, I decided on reading. Then I had to decide on what I wanted to read. I eventually decided on "Eragon", the first book in The Inheritance Cycle. God, I love those books… And I'm dying because the fourth, and final one hasn't come out yet, and its been three YEARS and I'm DYING!
Ahem. Right. Sorry about that… Now, the instant I decided on the novel I wished to read, I began to get up to find it, when I felt the part of my brain where the power resided suddenly break, no matter how hard I tried to stop it. I must have blacked out for an instant, because next thing I knew, I was on the floor. I was also completely drained. As I stood shakily, I saw a blue book laying on my bedroom floor. Eragon.
No way I thought It's just a fluke. To test this theory, I focused on the book "The New Policeman" by Kate Thompson, and more specifically, locating it. This time, the result was entirely different.
My arm shot out without my consent, and a beam of golden light shot from my hand and wove through the room to the shelf on the far corner. The beam expanded to cover the novel, then started to draw back into my hand. I noticed how hard it was to focus on bringing the book to me, for I was indeed concentrating very hard on summoning that book towards me. The progress was agonizingly slow. It took a lot more effort that I was expecting to keep that concentration, and I felt the control slipping, slipping away into oblivion… The gold beam wavered and wobbled, then flickered out. The book fell to the floor with a THUD muffled by my carpeted floor, barely three feet from the shelf it had started from.
Well, that won't do. I thought That won't do at all.
So for the next six months, I worked for an hour after school every single day to work on the summoning power. I found out pretty quickly that saying what I wanted seemed to help quite a bit. So did meditating. Even so, it… didn't go too well for the first month and a half… The first time I actually got a book all the way to my hand was exactly a month and a half after the first mishap. When I felt the spine in my hand, I was so shocked I promptly dropped my poor copy of "The Overlord Protocol". That poor book has been through so much… I feel kinda sorry for it.
Over the months, I got better at summoning books. I'm almost consistent with it now. 80% of the time I manage it, 5% of the time I don't catch the book, then wince as it hit's the floor, and 10% of the time… well, 10% of the time I still fail epically.
And now this. I don't know what the heck happened, but I touched the book, then it got stuck to my hand, then… pain. So much pain. It was almost unbearable. And then… there were two teenaged superheroes standing in the middle of my bedroom. And… I guess you know the rest of the story.
The question that's been plaguing me, however, is; Where do we go from here?