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Powers 

I've been asked: why did you choose to write Powers.

Short answer: it wasn’t a choice. I had to write it. I grew up on science fiction, both the “hard” stuff and the “soft” or psychological stuff.

 

I love the idea of telepathy, mind reading, auras, precognitive dreams—all of that. It’s the “what if?” factor, which drives science fiction and fantasy.

 

I kept wondering, what if two teens developed psychic powers, but DIDN’T save the world or battle super-strong bad guys? What if part of their struggle was internal?

 

What if they didn’t like each other, didn’t trust each other and didn’t want to work together? What kind of story might that make? ​

From Powers:

Monday, January 6

Gwen 
    

 Every night, for seven nights, I dreamed of him. Every morning, for seven mornings, I awoke drenched in cold, slippery sweat, whispering to myself: just a dream. But was it? It felt real, more like I’d lived it than dreamed it. The staccato rhythm of his boots, echoing down the corridor. His black leather trench coat, swooping behind him like a cape. The way he stood in the doorway of my English class— eyes hidden behind mirrored sunglasses, his posture perfect, physically commanding. 


      In other words, he was an arrogant jerk. A fake. Outwardly confident; inwardly afraid. A dangerous combination; someone you can’t trust. How did I know? I’m a Watcher, an observer of human behavior. Eighty percent of all communication is non-verbal. It’s what you don’t say that says the most—a shifting of the eyes, a gesture, a subtle intake of breath. As a Watcher, I can sum a person up in less than ten seconds. And I am never wrong. 


    The dream repeated each night, alternating with nightmarish images. 


    Night one: the stranger. 


    Night two: a house consumed by flames, lighting up the night sky. 


    Night three: a white skull, floating in inky blackness. 


    Night four: a child-sized casket, its lid up and waiting. 


    Night five, six, seven: a kaleidoscope—the stranger, the skull, a house on fire, a casket, all tied together. 


    I tell myself there is no reason to fear this person. His kind and my kind don’t mix. He won’t notice me. I’m wallpaper. On a bad day, linoleum. But each morning I awaken, drenched in cold, slippery sweat.

Adrian 

 First impressions last two years. That’s what Mrs. Ghee drummed into us, two years ago, back in ninth grade. Make a good first impression. Firm handshake. Good eye contact. Look confident, as if you can do the job. People believe what they see. Remember that.


    I stare at the door of my new school. My fingers itch for a smoke. The sudden, intense craving takes me by

surprise. I gave up smoking a year ago. Didn’t enjoy being a slave to my addiction. I like to be in control.


    I go inside, wander the halls, searching for my locker. People flow past me. I’m lost, but I march along as if I know where I’m heading. My gut twists in a killer of a cramp. Not again. I dry-swallow an anti-diarrheal pill. It slips sideways, sticks like a piece of chalk in my throat. I gag. I sound like Cleo, my cat, coughing up a fur ball.


    “Need help?” asks a girl. She’s tall, nearly my height, red hair, green eyes. “Bubbler,” I gasp. She giggles. “What?” “Water.” “Water fountain?” She leads me to a bubbler, not ten feet away. I gulp water and wash down the pill. 


    “Thanks.” 


    She smiles. She’s wearing a short top and low jeans. In between is a smooth stretch of tanned skin. She wears a green jewel in her belly button. The same color as her eyes.


    “I’m Melissa,” she says. 


    “Adrian Black.” I stick out my hand as if this is a job interview. Smooth move. 


    But she doesn’t seem to notice. She slips her hand into mine, shakes it as though we were doing something completely normal. She giggles again. “See you around.” 

 
    “See ya.” I keep my voice steady, hiding another gut spasm. I need a restroom, fast. And another pill. By the time I find a restroom and take care of things, the bell rings. No time to find my locker or get rid of my coat. 


    I walk into my first class: English. Okay. Deep breath, shoulders back. Make it good. People believe what they see.