Hello, meu amigos! I am back with the TWENTIETH part of Broken Reflections! Good gracious, that’s a lot!
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“Well, what brought you here early?” Alla asked, taking the seat next to me. Apparently they didn’t have assigned seating since everyone kept switching around their chairs.
“Yeah, well I got bored,” I replied matter-of-factly.
Paige was the last to come in, and unfortunately the only chair that was open was the one on my right. Oh joy.
Almost instantly James, Colleen Ada, and Alla, who were sitting beside each other, started talking about some TV show they had watched this afternoon, and Eugene, Andy, and Paige were talking about who-knows-what. I, of course, had no idea about any of it, so I tuned everyone out.
In between talking, we dug into the pot roast, potatoes, and carrots. I reminded myself that later I needed to again complement Paige’s cooking.
This meal was filled with chatter and laughter. I didn’t do any of the chatting or laughing, but it was good to hear. My ears were missing the joyfulness of the Johnson residents. I was almost sad when Eugene announced that it was time to go back to our rooms and that we had free time, but, of course, we couldn’t leave our houses.
Colleen Ada and Alla walked back to their house together, their laughter filling the clearing. James walked back with them for most of the way until he reached his homes, his laugh contributing to the joyful noise.
Paige walked by herself. She made no noise, and in the failing light, I could hardly tell where she was. If Paige wanted to scare somebody, she’d do a heck of a job.
And of course, I was trailing behind Andy – obviously at a respectful distance. During the meal he had relaxed a bit, and by his loose strut, I could tell that he was still no longer tense.
I immediately went to my room and closed the door. Andy’s music was no longer blaring, but I welcomed the silence. This was the first time that I’d had an actual chance to think when I was by myself.
My thoughts went first to the Johnsons; Aunt Carmen, Alice, Johnny and Jack and the twins, Uncle Bob and how much I missed them all. Then they traveled to Mom. She had seemed very distraught when I left with Dr. Eugene, but she had set me up to live with Dr. Eugene, so had she know about my so-called abilities?
Then my thoughts finally wondered to Dad. I hadn’t seen him since my birthday in May, four months ago. I remembered when I was little, eight or nine, and he’d read me my so-loved comics. I wasn’t the kid who liked to go fishing or do sports, but I loved school and my comics. Though Dad was more of the outdoors-man kind of guy, he would do what I liked to spend time with me. But how long had it been since we’d done anything together? Probably when Dad got his new girlfriend four years ago.
Don’t get me wrong, Azalea was cool and all, but she wasn’t Mom. And she wasn’t apart of my ‘perfect family’. But how many perfect families were there out there? Was there even such a thing? No, it’s impossible.
A knock on my door interrupted my train of thoughts. “Door’s open.”
Colleen Ada’s red head peeked in. “Sawyer, would you mind joining us in the main room?”
Was I in trouble? No, Colleen Ada was trying to hold back a smile. She wasn’t the kind to smile when someone else got in trouble. Or was she? How much did I actually know about this girl? Anyone here, for a matter-of-fact.
I got up and followed Colleen Ada to the main room.
James and Alla were there – Andy as well. But what surprised me the most was Paige, perched on the armrest of the couch. How hadn’t I heard all of them come in?
“What are you all doing here?” I asked.
“It’s Friday night,” Alla responded, as if the answer were the most obvious thing in the world. “It’s game night.”
“Game night? What on earth do you mean by that?”
The closest thing I’d done to a game night was at the Johnsons when Jack, Johnny, and I would be zombies in front of the TV, trash talking while playing video games and eating snacks.
“You know, cards games and the such,” Colleen Ada explained.
“Oh.” The only card games I’ve ever played were solitaire and Go Fish, so not much to go on. “Which card games are we going to play, exactly?”
“Euchre!” Alla piped in.
Groaning came from every single one of them.
“What on earth is that?” I asked.
“Alla’s newest obsession,” Paige groaned. “Ever since I taught it to her last night.”
That was the most Paige had ever talked to me. Like, ever. But I guess I only met her yesterday.
“Well, isn’t there a rule that Dr. Eugene has? Like, no girls in boys houses, and the curfew and stuff?”
James waved his hand dismissively. “Bah! When have I ever listened to rules?”
“I don’t know. I only met you yesterday.”
That quieted things down for a moment. I was super thankful when Alla broke the uncomfortable silence.
“So euchre it is, then!” Alla cried.
Paige groaned again, but this time she was smiling. After sweeping her blonde hair into a ponytail, she pulled out a deck of cards from her jeans’ pocket.
“So… I have absolutely no idea how to play this game,” I admitted.
“That’s okay,” Colleen Ada said. “We’ll teach you. Well, I’ll teach you, since I am the best euchre player here.”
Colleen Ada and I sat down, Paige slipped down to the floor, and we all made a deformed circle.
A mixture of cackles and complaints rose from the group after Colleen Ada’s newest statement.
“I’m the best,” Paige told me. “But I’ll let Colleen Ada teach you.”
Paige dealt the cards in a funny fashion, then in rapid fire mode, Colleen Ada told me how to play the game. I had to ask her to repeat it multiple times, and we played many practice rounds before we started a real game. Turns out, Colleen Ada was not the best teacher. At all.
“Are you ready?” Paige asked as she dealt the cards.
“Maybe I should have taught him.”
“Nonsense!” Colleen Ada cried. But I had to disagree.
“Maybe I’ll sit out this round,” I said.
“That may be a good idea,” Paige agreed. “James, you’re sitting out as well.”
“What? Me?” James asked in mock surprise, but a smile ruined his imitation.
I tried to pay attention to the game, but I kept being drawn out by the players’ constant chatter. I was surprised that Paige was so open and talkative. Apparently cards was the way to her heart.
“Time to change players!” Alla announced, even though we all knew it was against the card game’s rules. “Andy and Colleen Ada are out this time! Sawyer, you’d better have been paying attention!”
I obviously hadn’t. I had to withdraw, and replace countless cards, but that arose laughter from me and my companions’ throats, so it was completely worth it.
It wasn’t until our second game that I was slightly starting to get the hang of euchre. Slightly.
“So … Sawyer,” Alla said, laying down a card. “How did you get those scars? I mean, if you don’t mind telling.”
Everyone turned expectantly at me as one, the game on temporary pause. Obviously they had all been wondering the same question, but didn’t want to ask it.
I shrugged. “I don’t mind. Just give me a minute to figure out how to word it.”
They nodded and went back to the game, but they all kept stealing glances at me.
Truth be told, I had almost forgotten that I had scars covering my body. I had yet to see a mirror in this place, and jeans and long sleeves covered everything except my hands and face.
How would I tell them this without them thinking me crazy? I could just tell them the truth, my Grandma had left me a mirror after she died; that I saw a little girl in that mirror who somehow gave me a mystery vial before she disappeared; that I had broken the vial against my will; that I had glass under my skin and mostly likely poison coursing through my veins; the fact that the little girl who I saw in the mirror kept following me, and she called Dr. Eugene evil. No, I couldn’t tell them that. I’d just tell them what I told everyone else.
I looked up from my clasped hands. “I’m honestly not sure.” Everyone’s eyes snapped back up to me. “I found this vial and it forced me to break it. When I did, the glass and liquid got inside me, and both are still there.”
There was silence before James asked, “You’ve got poison in your blood and glass under you skin? That’s gross.” He looked at me and quickly changed his wording. “I mean, man, that’s unfortunate.”
I smiled. “It’s okay. I find it gross, too.”
Everyone, including me, looked back at our cards. There was a silence, not quiet awkward, but awful close.
“So…” I started, breaking the silence. “What are your guys abilities?”
That brought everyone’s attention back to me. “What are abilities?” Andy asked, though his eyes betrayed his facade.
“Guys, I know about abilities. You can tell me. Or show me if you’d like,” I said cautiously.
They all released their breaths in unison.
“That’s a huge relief,” Alla said, placing her cards facing down.
“So you wouldn’t mind telling me what they are?” I asked hopefully.
“I wouldn’t,” Colleen Ada replied. “I can to some extent, control emotions. It’s difficult, but Dr. Eugene is teaching me how to control it.”
Colleen Ada, who was sitting beside me, lightly touched my exposed hand. I looked up, and saw Paige’s face carefully inspecting her cards. I thought of her of something that I’d never thought of a person before … a project. I could help her overcome an obvious sadness. Compassion rose in my chest.
I choked out, “Compassion?”
She nodded. “Certain emotions are easier then others to do on people. Take Alla, for instance.” Colleen Ada gestured at Alla. “The easiest emotion to inject in her is kindness, because she’s such a happy person.”
I hated to admit it, but I was slightly disappointed at her ability. I mean, don’t get me wrong and all, but I was expecting something a little more … explosive.
“Well I might as well go next,” Alla said cheerfully. “I have enhanced senses. Meaning, I can smell better and see farther then normal people. I can feel the different molecules – atoms even – in everything. I even have some ‘sixth senses’ such as I can sense others with abilities. And so forth.”
“So you must be good with biology? That’s cool.” Biology being one of my favorite subjects, I slightly liked her ability a smidgen more.
Alla nodded. “Though sometimes it’s better then others. Like last time Dr. Eugene tried to cook, I could taste the nastiness all the more.” She squinted her eyes shut and stuck out her tongue to prove her point.
I grinned with all the others in the group.
And so the powers begin! Dun, dun, duh!!!! Do you have any speculations for others’ abilities?? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! (The rest will be revealed on Friday … so be sure to come back!) Also, who’s your favorite superhero? I love Spidey, Iron Man, and Batman. Bye! 😀