LIGHT AND DARK:
Lancelot Falcon Alvers closed his eyes one last time, sucking in a deep breath. Even when the voices of his companions were silenced, everything else seemed to scream. The thunder outside of the window, stripped of its curtain, roared outside, occasionally causing the tall, unstable boarding house to tremble. The ceiling creaked. The rain pounded on the house.
A muffled laugh met Lance's ears through the floorboards. He heard Toad, the short but highly annoying mutant yell something absolutely random.
"Yeah, you owe me a turkey sandwich!"
After a moment of lying with tensed muscles, Lance shot up and chucked a slim pillow at the wall. "Ugh, that's it!"
He flung himself down the stairs, two steps at a time, dressed in an over-sized jersey and sweatpants.
He threw open the doors to the kitchen. Furious, he yelled, "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
Toad, with his green eyes wide and dark sand hair a ruffled mess, mumbled, "Nice pajamas there, Lance. They look quite slimming."
Blob, the huge, blonde-mohawked mutant scoffed with Toad.
Instead of throwing something at them, as Lance yearned to do, he knew a technique that proved to be far more effective from past experiences.
At just a flex of his fingers, the ground began to shake. Quickly, the laughter faded. Lance exited as quickly as he had entered.
"Jeez, Lance ain't got no sense of humor!" Toad muttered, but loud enough to meet Lance's ears. Lance clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, but he was too tired to put Toad back into his place. Blinded by annoyance, he didn't notice Pietro, his albino roommate, charging down the stairs at full-speed.
These kids were a group of outcasts who were waiting for fame and fortune to hit. They were mutants, despised and misunderstood by many. They were enchanced with abilities no one had ever seen before, and people tend to fear what they don't understand.
"Ow!" Lance crumpled to the floor, tracing his ankle. "Pietro! Watch where you're going!" A burning sensation seered beneath his skin. Lance sucked in a sharp breath. "Yeah, didn't we have a rule that you can't use your power in the house?" He snapped, unable to bring himself to admit that his body was having a hard time coping with the collation, especially with how fast Pietro was going.
"Sorry, man. I just came down here to tell Fly-Breath and Blob to shut-it." He pulled Lance up.
Lance glared at the door with his piercing brown eyes. "Yeah, good luck with that."
He began to advance the stairs, but then he turned as though he had forgotten something. "And if you need any help," Lance flexed his fingers as though to hint towards his earthquaking abilities, "I can always give them a nice shaking."
Pietro nodded and ventured into the kitchen where Dumb and Dumber resided.
As he lowered himself back into bed, his ankle flared. He rubbed it slowly and winced with pain's sharp jab.
A long night's rest, even if it's a short one, will do my aching body some good, Lance thought, lowering his 5'6 frame back and allowing all one-hundred thirty-seven pounds to sink into the pillows.
Mesmirizing. Everything about her was absolutely mesmerizing! Her bright blue eyes, like an open sky, her sweet smile, her simple nature. Everything she was had Lance completely captured.
"Kitty!" A boy with shoulder-length black hair and a pale face that contrasted with his green eyes darted down the hall, excitedly waving his binder over his head.
Lance sighed and his eyes fell upon his own locker.
"Hey, Kitty!" Toad hollered. He nudged Lance, which was quite awkward, considering the fact that Toad was a half a foot shorter. His nudge hit Lance in the waist.
"Yes, Toad?" Lance asked, perturbed already.
Pietro and Blob quickly joined them and began to gather their things for second period, which Lance had with Kitty Pryde.
"I don't even know why you like her," Toad began, running his mouth once more. It was alright, because no one usually listened to him anyway.
"What are you talking about?" Lance asked, shoving a book in his backpack.
"This!" Toad grabbed the book. "I mean, really! She's so smart, and you're like, so dumb! I mean, come on, man, who's in this course in their junior year?"
Lance gritted his teeth and ripped the book from Toad's clutches. "What do you care?"
Toad grinned, showing his yellow teeth. "Hear that, guys? Lance likes Kitty!"
Lance zipped his bag and proceeded to walk away, refusing to allow Toad to get to him.
"Here, kitty-kitty-kitty! Lance wants to ask you out! He wants to hug you! He wants to kiss you!" They all sang, throwing in random, dumb lines.
A sudden ripple through the school flooring caused them all to fall.
When he was alone, Lance took a drink from the water fountain then he sat with his back against the wall. For an idiot, Toad had a point. Lance realized he wouldn't never see eye-to-eye with Kitty Pryde. I mean, even if I did have the chance to look her into the eyes, to have her speak to me, for me to speak to her, I'd never see things the way she does. She's logic, I'm… I don't even know why I started that sentence.
Pulling himself from the ground, with a deep sigh, he continued down the hall. One of the doors had a sign that read:
Second Period- 10:15 with Mrs. Knapp, Language and Arts for 11th Graders
That's right. We'd never seen eye-to-eye, because I see everything backwards and upside down, and in every other variation you can think of. Out of all of the words on that paper, Lance understood that he had second period with Mrs. Knapp. If he weren't here earlier in the school year, he wouldn't have been able to decode what class this was.
Pushing the door open, he nodded towards the teacher before taking his seat, aware of all eyes fixed upon himself, the late-comer.
Mrs. Knapp raised her needle-thin eyebrows and crossed her boney arms. "Mr. Alvers, since you're late, would you like to read to the class the first act of the play?"
The play? What play? Oh, yes! The Shakespeare play! Hamlet… Wasn't it? No…
Noting his hesitation, Mrs. Knapp added, "Romeo and Juliet, Alvers."
Lance fumbled in his bag for the book and plopped it onto the desk. Just after he cleared his throat, Mrs. Knapp instructed him to stand.
As he lifted himself from his chair, his eyes drifted over the room and fell upon Kitty, who watched his with a fixed stare. Her face gave no emotion.
"Very funny, Alvers. I said the first act."
Lance nodded his head. At least she thinks I was trying to be funny, not that I'm really stupid enough to start reading the coverpage.
"What's his name?" Lance asked.
Everyone groaned. "Sampson."
Eyes on Kitty, Lance began to read. "Sampson says, 'Gregory, o my world-'"
"Word, Alvers, word."
"Yeah, that. Uh, o my word, we'll not carry coals. Gregory says, 'No, for then we…'"
Lance stopped, well aware of Kitty's stare. How she studied him, causing him to feel clumsy and weak. She met his eyes and refused to break her gaze.
Finding his voice again, Lance stumbled upon the next word. It were a though the word were playing a game with his mind, a cruel game, and the letters scrambled just like alphabet soup or a never-ending game of scrabble.
Muffled laughter began in various places throughout the room. The more Lance stumbled, the louder the laughter became.
He met Kitty's eyes once more and felt so exposed and small that he sat down and shut the book with his head on the table.
"What are you, Alvers, a complete brick?" One of the jocks asked from across the room.
Scott Sommers, Lance's long-time enemy even released surprised muffled laughter, receiving an elbow jab and a glare from his sweet, popular girlfriend, Jean, for doing so.
"Alright, Alvers, you can be done," Mrs. Knapp said, her voice suddenly soft and quiet.
Lance kept his head down, unable to meet anyone's eyes. His body felt as though it were on fire, but only when he felt Kitty's eyes. What was she thinking? She was so hard to read, harder than any sonnet or Shakespeare play.
After a half an hour of humiliation slowly passed by, feeling the stares of the class, Lance burst out of English and fled down the hall. When he made a left turn, a boney hand suddenly grabbed his shoulder.
"Alvers, about what happened in class," Mrs. Knapp began, her piercing brown eyes fixed upon him.
Lance looked at the ground. "Look, I'm sorry, okay?" It took him a moment or so to realize his voice was all chocked-up.
Mrs. Knapp's eyes melted. "No, you don't have to be sorry for anything." She forced him to meet her eyes. Lance swallowed hard. "Alvers, I'm here to help you." She smiled over her shoulder. "Come with me, I want to show you something."
Lance reluctantly followed, still feeling heaviness in his stomach. On the way to her office, he caught Kitty in the corner of his eye, laughing with all of her mutant friends, who were called the X-Men.
Lance had once tried to fit in with them, but it just didn't work.
He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his stone-washed jeans and followed Mrs. Knapp. Just my luck, he bitterly thought. My English teacher doubles as my principal.
She held open the door for him and he ducked beneath her arm, moving stiffly and feeling rather queasy. At her command, he sat down and fidgeted as though he were wrestling with anxiety.
She took her place in a high chair behind a large desk. "Alvers," she began, looking smart and dignified, the exact things Lance thought that he was the exact opposite of, "have you ever been diagnosed with dyslexia?"
Embarrassed, Lance nodded. "Yeah, when I was little."
"How well can you read?" She asked, face expressionless.
"Uh, at about a third grade level." She nodded.
"I know what you're going through. It's tough being thought of as stupid, or constantly telling
yourself that you're an idiot. To feel like a fool infront of everyone because you can't read." She glanced at the door. "Even having Kitty dismiss you as 'dumb.'"
Heat shot up to Lance's face. "She said that?"
Mrs. Knapp sighed. "She didn't have to, her face said it all."
Lance's head dropped. "Oh."
Mrs. Knapp smiled and touched his chin. "But there's a way to make it all go away!" Reaching into a drawer with her long, boney fingers, she pulled out a clear bottle with a foggy blue liquid dancing within it.
He could see her eyes through the bottle. They were gold-colored, unlike any shade he had ever seen before. They have to be contacts, he thought. Still, uneasiness turned his stomach like a tempest.
"By drinking this, your mind will be taken to the next level. You'll be able to unlock things no one has ever seen before!"
Her face drew uncomfortably close to his. "Lance, this is the answer you've been looking for. You'd be a fool to turn it down."
Gingerly, Lance reached out and took the bottle from her hands. He slowly unscrewed the cap and inhaled a small bit of the potion.
His nose wrinkled.
The door burst open, revealing an out-of-breath, flushed-faced Scott Sommers. "Lance, don't do it! It's a trick! She's lying!"
"What is this all about, Scott?" Mrs. Knapp asked.
Lance stood, muscles tensed. "Listen, Sommers, I don't need you or anyone else to tell me what I need to do."
Scott brushed his brunette hair out of his eyes. "Hey, I'm just trying to help!"
"Well, I didn't ask for your help, now did I?" Lance growled and drew the cold glass to his lips.