A New World. Short Story.

Going Christmas shopping today. Fun. The plan is to get in and out early and hopefully avoid the worst of the crowds. It’s nothing major that I need to get at least, just a few small bits and pieces so that’s reassuring I guess!

We’re also stuck with the puppy for another few days, my sisters flights were delayed, she’ll be back on Friday instead of earlier today. Huzzah!

On with the show!

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Aiden took a deep breath, this wasn’t supposed to hurt, but then maybe that was only the case with people who actually knew what they were doing. Who really knew how to inject themselves, it isn’t exactly something that was common. He had looked it up online and according to everything he was just supposed to kind of…stab it in and press the plunger.  He tilted the syringe, looking at the liquid inside. It was bright purple, almost neon. If anything it screamed poison. There have been no long term studies on it, it is only new. Everyone who took it could die ten years down the road. He took another breath, there was no reason to back out, not now. He took a deep breath and stabbed. Fuck. It hurt. He pressed down the plunger, gritting his teeth.  He waited for a second and pulled it out again, a small amount of purple fluid bubbled from the puncture wound. It was supposed to do that. He had researched it as best he could online before going out to buy it. No point in doing it if he couldn’t get it right. After all, this was a one shot or nothing deal. One shot was fine, two would kill him.  Now, he just had to wait. It could take up to seventy two hours for anything to happen. Good thing there was nothing he had to do for the next few days. He picked up the needle and wrapped it in some tissue, then he carefully placed it at the bottom of his bin. Wouldn’t do to have his parents find it, they would freak the fuck out. He understood why they would freak out, he understood why everyone was freaking out, but he knew he had to do it.

It hit the streets a few months ago. This strange purple stuff that was supposed to give the best high with no addictive qualities. People took it, but nothing happened, no crazy high. Some went for a second dose,  they died instantly. The ones who didn’t figured they just got ripped off and moved on. Then it happened. Powers. Real, live actual super human powers. after their powers manifested, some people tried another go, hoping for more, they too died instantly. News of it spread, police cracked down and tried to ban it, but no matter what they did it found its way to people. It was no longer illegal to own it, just sell it. When that happened, people started giving it for free. Then, the police force started having mandatory shots and after that, everyone wanted to get their hands on some. Flights had been grounded since, at least until they can find a way to stop the effects until the plane lands again. Wouldn’t do to have someone burn everyone to a crisp on board. Everyone knew that the terrorists must have already taken it, there was no way would miss that opportunity.

The only downside, at least as far as Aiden was concerned, was that there was no way to predict what kind of power he, or anyone else, would get. It could be something cool, like flight or super strength, or control over an element, or he could see in the dark, or never need to blink again. There were some of them that were kinda lame, but wouldn’t be too bad, like crafting anything out of wood or metal. That was kinda cool, he’d always have a job if that happened at least. He wouldn’t have taken it, but he didn’t really have much of a choice. His life was going nowhere, he had nothing. He had failed all of his subjects, he couldn’t get into college, he can’t get a job. There was nothing. His parents had pretty much stopped talking to him. He was like a ghost in the house.

Aiden had come to this decision a while ago, in fact, he had come to a decision months ago. He knew he had failed miserably, knew as he left the exam hall each and every time. He had made a decision then, it was simple, pure. If he did as badly as he suspected, if things didn’t go well there would be one option.

Then, he heard about the drug. Whispers, rumours. He took to the internet to find out as much as possible, researching for hours. It wasn’t as though he had anything to lose at this point.

Hopefully he’d get something useful, something he could use. There were a few people that had dampening powers, they could prevent others from using theirs. If he got that he’d have a great career in law enforcement. It was never something he particularly dreamed of doing, but it would be a good, stable job. Every police force would require one to level the playing field. If two dampeners ere nearby, they would cancel each other out.

On the third day Aiden began to worry. He had never read anything about people not getting powers, but what if that happened to him? Maybe it had happened to someone and they didn’t want to tell anyone. Even worse, what if his power wasn’t just stupid, but really weak. Maybe that was why he couldn’t do anything yet. He had been practising, or trying to, following guides people had posted online on how they used their powers. Nothing was working. He couldn’t talk to anyone about this, his parents would kill him, his friends would think he was crazy. He tried posting about it online but everyone seemed to ignore him.

On the fifth day it finally happened. He reached for a glass of water and knocked it over, right onto his laptop. The glass landed on the ground, bounced, and settled, the water however, floated in the air. Telekinesis, that was something interesting at least, though obviously it wasn’t strong enough to effect the glass yet. He turned the glass upright and guided the water into it, then he placed the glass onto the desk. He’d start off with something small, simple. A paper clip, it was light, and would be easy to float. He stared at it for ten minutes before giving up. Nothing was happening. This was ridiculous. He tore up a strip of paper and began to look at the smallest piece. Nothing was happening. He took to the internet again, looking up how people had learned to control their powers, but he was trying what they had. He closed the laptop and looked at the glass, maybe it was a shock thing. Maybe he could only use it when he was scared or startled. He had been worried about the laptop after all. He stared at the water, trying to figure it out. The water rippled slightly, moved upwards, then collapsed backwards. Of course, it was the water he was moving. He could move water. He sat down, not sure how to feel about it. It wasn’t exactly useful, was it? What could it be used for? He raised a drop of water and focused again, it froze and dropped back into the glass. He tried to lift the ice, but nothing happened. Ok, so he could only control water while it was liquid. He raised a drop again, it shivered, then exploded into steam. He could use this for something, he focused, hoping that he’d be able to move the water molecules in the air, nothing happened. Maybe it wasn’t concentrated enough? He took a deep breath and focused. After five minutes his face was red and he was sweating, a small bead of water had formed. He smiled, his concentration dipping. It disappeared instantly. Once he had control of it all, it would be an awesome power. He could freeze or burn people, he could douse them in water, he could even stop a hydroelectric dam if he was able to get strong enough. Things were starting to look up. He left his room and searched for a large bucket, once he found one, he filled it with water. He needed to practise. Once the water bucket was in his room, he went back down and got a glass of milk, one of juice and one of soda, after all, it could be all liquids. Grinning, he brought everything upstairs on a tray.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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