Category Archives: Majors and Minors

Majors and Minors: Short Story 1

Now that I’ve whetted your appetite (hopefully) with Majors and Minors, I’m going stop posting the original story. You’ll have to wait for the published version for the full story, whenever that happens. However, do not fear! After writing Majors and Minors, I realized how much there was that I could do with it. So, I created a new character. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy meeting him as much as I did.

The world explodes in a bright red flash. The tree that I just hit topples forward. “Ah, snap!” I yell, reaching out and grabbing someone. Lucy Cummings, I realize as the smoke clears. “Everyone grab on!” I call out, and the group gathers around me. Instantly, we’re rushing through time. Then, we’re sitting on the floor of the prison.
    My body is tired, but I pull myself to my feet. “Alfred, check for the guards. We need to do this like we did last time.”
    “Last time got Caleb killed,” Lucy, a short brunette, complains.
    “We can change that. You know that.” I keep my voice level, uneasy with the amount of stress I’m feeling.
    “I died?” Caleb asked. He’s shorter that the rest of us, with brown eyes framed by large glasses. Not that he needs them anymore. Not since the Shrinkage. I brought him along in the group this time because his eyes are so good.
    “Don’t worry about it,” I say, flashing a grin. I pull my hat on, a western style, kind of like what the cowboys used to wear. I looked around the group, fifteen in all. Lucy (Telekinesis), Caleb (Super good eyesight/lasers out of said eyes), Calligan (Speed/Sticky feet), Alfred (Ungifted but extremely smart), Bruce (Strength), Thad (Fire), Sloan (mechanics), Daniel (Also Strength), Constance (Smart ungifted), Ronald (Just a normal ungifted), Mary (Flight), Alicia (Control of plants), Ralph (Mind reader), Isaac (Ungifted), and myself.
    “Doctor, three coming this way.” Alfred the first’s comment is for me. That’s my nickname after all. The Doctor.
    After the Shrinkage, some of the people in the world got powers. I’m different than those people. I’m what you would call a Double Gifted. The ability to travel through time? Check. The ability to control any weapon around me? Also check.
    My real name is Evan Bell. But after people learned about my time traveling power, they dubbed me the Doctor. After some old TV show, from what I understand. I am not, however, an alien.
    The three guards walk past the door. I reach out my hand, more as a dramatic gesture than anything. The first man’s gun jerks out of his hand and slams into another’s jaw. The second man collapses in a heap.
    Lucy springs into action. With a quick motion,  the third man slams into the far wall. He slumps to the ground, unmoving. The first man is taken down by Caleb, blinded.
    “I’m never going to try and win a stare down with you,” Isaac says. No one laughs.
    Sloan runs up and unlocks the door. Bruce and Daniel pull it open and we run out into the hall. “Grab a weapon and let’s go,” I whisper, running forward.
    Suddenly, I hit an invisible wall. “What the..?” I mutter, reaching out with my mind. However, it’s just a plain glass wall, nothing fancy. “Why wasn’t this here last time?” I ask, but Bruce pushes me to the side. Doesn’t matter. We’ve got to get past it. With a single blow, the glass shatters, the shards landing on the other side of the glass.
    We all make our way as carefully as we can. As I go through, I look back. The second guard is starting to move, but that can’t be helped.
    We were being held in a ramshackle convenience store, and most of the shelves still have food and other supplies on them. I look around, but there’s nothing we need. Not today.
    Five feet from the door, Brutus steps out from behind a shelving unit. Shadow, as always, is by his side. “I’ll take Shadow!” I yell, and the others go after Brutus, a strength Gifted.
    Shadow is definitely tricky, as he can move as silently as a mouse, yet with the speed of an athlete. His gift, however, is not speed, but being able to turn invisible. Unfortunately for him, he choices to fight with a knife, which puts him at my mercy. Also unfortunate for him is the fact that I don’t have much right now.
    The knife sails from his hand, and speeds into my outstretched palm. My fingers close around it and I attack. Even with his speed and invisibility, there’s no way he can get out of the way. In a few seconds, his body drops to the ground, visible now that he’s dead.
    That had just gone quicker than the last time, which was most definitely a good thing. I run towards Brutus, who’s having a hard time holding off my friends. The knife hovers behind me, and I attack with it, not even holding it in my hand. Brutus falls as well, the knife buried in his brain.
    I dislike killing, and having to do more than one is enough to make me sick. However, until I can get to Card, the boss of Houston, I’m stuck with doing it.
    “Doctor, we’ve got to go. Now.” It’s Lucy. She knows what’s going to happen, when I get to Card, but she follows me anyway. That’s real dedication to a cause.
    “Lucy, if you want, I could take you back with…” I trail off when I see her expression.
    “Look, Doc, I like you, but no that much. If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather be clueless.”
    “I would take them all back,” I say at her retreating form as she moves up through the group. The excuse doesn’t even fool me. Shaking my head, I walk up the road to where we found the tank last time.
    Then there it is, with the same two guards sitting on top. Calligan speeds off, up the side, fists flying. The fury knocks one out immediately, but it’s up to Lucy to drop the other.
    The group clamber in, except for Thad and Mary, and the ones they give rides to, as we don’t have powers that allow us to move without being on the ground.
    As the tanks is technically a weapon, I’m able to control it. Sloan also helps, as it’s also mostly mechanical. We start moving forwards, and Lucy gives me a warning look. I nod; that last time, we barely made it out of the drive way before crashing into the tree. This time, however, I both have more experience, as well as Sloan. We turn onto the main road, heading away from the convenience store.
    “Follow this road, then take a right. First left, and Card’s at the end, in a mansion.” Caleb’s voice is squeakier than usual. His eyes are screwed tightly shut, as he finds it easier to focus his gift of sight that way.
    “Thanks,” I say, turning back to the road. The road is bumpy, and it takes both of the drivers to keep it steady. Not that we’re in danger of tipping over. Not in a tank.
    About fifteen minutes later, we pull up to Richard card’s mansion. I look at the group. “Well, it was great the days we had together, wasn’t it?”
    “We won’t miss you, Doc,” Constance says. “We won’t remember you at all.”
    “I’m going to remember each and every one of you,” I say, pulling her into a hug. Then I hug the rest of the group, one at a time. Some of the other boys start joke hugging, pretending to cry as if they were actually going to miss each other.
    I open the top and pull myself over the edge. Ten guards stand at the front door, and their guns are pointed at me in a second. “I need to see Card,” I say.
    Richard Card is a mystery. No one, aside from me, knows whether he’s Gifted or not, but he’s definitely the most powerful man since the man who called himself the Neph Master.
    The guards still don’t let me pass, and I frown. I drop the ground. “Please, let me see Card.” They remain stolid in their silence. I take a step forward.
    “Don’t take another step,” they order, but I keep going. Instantly, the bullets rip through my body. I’m fading, quickly, and with my last bit of strength, I push myself back through time a few seconds. I’m now standing, with no bullet holes.
    “Don’t take another step,” they order, and I put my hands up. I know they’re not bluffing.
    “Not trying that again,” I mutter. “Once again, let me see Card,” I order.
    “Why?” one of the guards, the one with the big bushy mustache, asks.
    “To show him the light,” I reply cryptically.
    “The one at the end of the tunnel? Many people have tried to do that.”
    It takes me a second to realize what he was talking about. “No!” I exclaim. “I don’t want to kill him! I just want to talk to him.”
    One of the guards heaves a giant notebook in front of me. “Then make an appointment,” he say.
    “No.” My voice is quiet, but forceful. “Let me see him now.”
    “Not a-” Moustache gets out, just before his gun explodes in his face. The distraction is just enough time to slip past the rest of the guards.  The guns sound behind me, but I skid around a corner just before I get hit.
    A large staircase lies in front of me. The easiest defense against anyone who suffered the Shrinkage. Unless, of course, they’re Gifted.
    Time slows, and I start up the stairs. I can’t, however, hold it to slow for too long, and by the time I’m halfway up, the guards are coming along the hall behind me. I reach out and blow up another gun. My muscles burn, but I press on. Within a few seconds for everyone else, I’m to the top. I rest for a second, then I look down. A flight Gifted is floating up the stairs.
    Instead of waiting for him to catch up, I dash down the hall. I head for the most heavily guarded room. Which is also the only guarded room. Card is most likely there.
    The guards prove no problem, as a single gun blowing up stuns them long enough for me to slip past. A conference table is set up, with about thirty men sitting around it, delegates from other cities. Card is on the far end, but I recognize another face. “Derek Hastings?”
    “Doctor?” Derek exclaims, jumping up. “I’ve kept my promise, I swear!”
    “I know Derek. I can see all of time, remember? I’m here for Card this trip.”
    Richard Card leans forward, interested. His dark skin seems out of place in a room filled with white. Not that I’m any different, as my skin is darker than most. “And who might you be?” he asks, his tone light, as if I’m a child to be humored.
    I hop on the table and strut across, kicking different notebooks and writing utensils out of the way. Up close, you can see the scar on Card’s right cheek, the one given to him by Scorpion, the self named super villain who tried to take Houston from him.
    “You could call me the Doctor, like everyone else. Or you could call me by my title. Which, Mr. Card, would be son.” I lock eyes with him, my brown eyes perfect replicas of his. “I’ve done my research. You thought that you and your wife couldn’t keep the baby, so you put me up for adoption. Wise decision, by the way.”
    I look at all the others. “You all will call me the Doctor.”
    “Evan?” Card says, half whispering. He’s on his feet now, and I turn to him.
    “That’s me, yes,” I reply. Suddenly, the guards burst through the door. I know I have to act fast, which for me is a relative term. I grab my father’s arm and slow time, with us being the only two not affected.
    “Listen, Dad,” I say, the word feeling strange on my tongue. “I’m going to take you back through time, to a point just after the Shrinkage. You’re going to keep the knowledge you already have now, but we won’t be together.”
    “Why can’t you just let me live my life from this point on?” Card asks, and I smile sadly.
    “I’ve killed to many people today, I can’t just go back a few days, either. If I do, I won’t be able to help anyone before that time.”
    My father gives me a blank look, and I smile indulgently. “Okay, think of it this way. My life is a line, right?” I drew a line. ______ Card nods. “My power allows me to move freely along that line. I can’t, however, go to a point before the Shrinkage, nor to any point after my age of seventy. The latter part of that is only because I haven’t lived past the age of seventy yet.” My father raises an eyebrow.
    “Wait, how old are you?”
    “I don’t know how many years I’ve lived. I’ve gone around a lot, back and forth, changing different things here and there. Suffice it to say, I’m older than I look.
    “Anyway, back to explaining. When I go back and change something, then that’s a point on the line.” _.________ “The other part of that is the fact that if I go back and change something before the dot on that line, then that dot is erases, and I have another dot to go by.” .________ “So, if I go back just a few days, I get less time to change things. Do you understand?”
    My father raises an eyebrow. “Kind of. But it’s still confusing.”
    “Imagine trying to living it,” I deadpan, then tighten my grip. Instantly, we’re going through time. My gift allows me to see time as cities, and me being on the highway. Dates and exact times for events speed past me, and I close my eyes. When I open them, I’m sitting in my room. My old room, the one I had when I was younger, before the Shrinkage. This is the place I stayed after the Shrinkage, for weeks afterwards.
    My internal clock tells me that it’s only been three hours since the Shrinkage, which is perfect. The four other people I brought back through time were before this point.
    I flash through time five years, to the point in time at which I had helped Card. The new memories fill my head, ones of Richard Card, peacemaker between the warring cities, the kind ruler of Houston, then spreading all the way to all of Texas.
    I’m standing in the middle of a deserted street. I pull my hat tighter on my head, and start walking forward. After all, with all of time at my disposal, there’s no telling what could happen.

 

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Majors and Minors: Chapters Three and Four

As a first post of the year treat (and seeing as I missed last month’s chapter), I am posting the next two chapters as one.

Chapter Three: Exiled

Soon after the initial madness settled down, small groups of people began to band together, forming communities. Some called themselves ‘Clans’, others ‘Bands’, still others called them ‘Gangs’. Other names included Groups, Hives, Colonies, Communes.
One of the largest growing clans in the early weeks was Thorsclan. -Encyclopedia Britannica.

We had heard of Thorsclan, how they had started to rise in power in Central New York.Originally from New York City, Thor had begun what he called ‘protecting’ cities. For a small price, of course.

Thor was a Flight Major, with an added bonus of electrical power thrown in. He looked like the Norse god slightly, with long golden hair and a face that screamed ‘former teenage heartthrob’. The only thing that didn’t look right was his eyes, which weren’t white, but rather a strange murky gray.

The Mayor of Syracuse didn’t have much control anymore, but he still made an effort to ‘hand’ the city over to Thor. Thor took it, with thanks. One of his first rules, however, was that all other clans must be disbanded.

Phillipsclan said no. Thorsclan got angry.

It came down between me and Thor, standing in the middle of South Salina Street, just like in the old westerns. Behind me stood Phillipsclan, or what was left of it, anyway. Behind him stood the entire city of Syracuse, and more beside. Even Mrs. Taylor stood behind him.

“Judith, go to Mrs. Taylor,”  I ordered, and my sister looked at me with fear-filled eyes. But she did as she was told, running across the space to her pseudo mother.  “Everyone else, do you understand what it means to stand next to me?”

The eight around me nodded. Two of our number had just followed Judith, and now it was down to Drew, Gwen, Weston (Strength Major), Arthur (Minor), Gabe (A flight Major) Pyro (Fire Major) Samantha (Minor)  and Kincaid (Unsure on this, either Martial Arts Major, or maybe a super cool Minor)

“Melchizedek Phillips!” yelled Thor.

“Yep, that’s my name,” I called back. Thor’s voice boomed back.

“I hereby exile you and anyone belonging to the clan named Phillipsclan, from any land under the authority of myself, Thor. We will kill you on sight.”

“Okay, thanks, bro, we’ll be out of your hair in a second, don’t worry.” I turned to the others. “We ready?”

“As ready as we ever will be,” Gwen said.

“I’m not asking any of you to be here, you know. You can leave anytime.”

“Dude, you saved us,” Gabe said. “I’m not just going to throw that away. Plus, who wants to be stuck under that jerk?” he hooked his thumb at Thor, who bristled obviously.  “Come one, let’s go,” he said, turning towards the car waiting for us.

Drew started the car as the rest of us turned, slowly climbing the rope suspended from the door frame. From behind Thor, the voices of Liam and Sarah could be heard, crying out for their brother. Someone held them back, I couldn’t tell who.

“Arthur, why are you leaving them?” I asked, and he shook his head.

“I can’t give you all the reasons, but I know Thor from before. He’s not exactly fond of me. I think that he won’t hurt Liam or Sarah, but he would kill me, without hesitation.”

I nodded, letting him climb the rope. The last person, besides me, was Kincaid. “I better not be making the wrong decision here,” he said, grinning at me, his crooked teeth matching his messed up face. He was older than me, by about a year, and I had nothing but respect for him. With ease, the dark-skinned boy climbed up the rope into the car. I followed close behind.

As the door closed, I moved towards the front. “Drew, take us out of here,” I said, and he grinned, albeit a bit sadly.

“As you wish,” he replied, switching the car into drive. I climbed onto the seat so as to stand next to him. He looked at me, a sarcastic jab on his lips.

“If you dare say anything about how old I look, don’t,” I said, referencing a joke he and Kincaid had made several days earlier.

“Actually, I was going to ask if you had shaved today? Your chin looks as smooth as a baby’s.”

I pushed him off the seat, to which came the cry from Gabe, “Don’t harass the driver!”

Everyone laughed. Which is kind of stupid to say, because it would have been hard not to laugh at such a statement

<^>

The first day was the hardest. It always is, getting used to a new routine. We had twenty-four hours to get through the Pennsylvania border. Which was pretty easy, considering that it takes less than two hours to do so.

Instead, however, we had decided to try and make it to the Adirondacks, where we had heard others were making their own clans, fighting against Thor. But to do that  we had to drive several hours.

It was strange, being the only ones on the highway. It was like one of the scenes from apocalyptic movies, where the heroes are the only ones left on the entire planet, and are just cruising, hoping to meet someone.

I always found those movies stupid. Why would you waste valuable resources driving around the country when what you really needed to was hunker down, gathering different supplies, and thriving.

Suffice it to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of those movies. And I had taken the idea of the story by George Wesely Rawls Survivors to heart: Find a group of friends, then get ready for whatever comes. You will have a much better chance of survival that way. Guns also were a huge part of it, but after we all shrunk, we couldn’t exactly use them.

Like I said in the beginning, the first day was the hardest: reaching our destination. We had driven into a small resort near Cranberry Lake, parking our car near the entrance. I walked in first, leaving the others ready to help me if need be. I knocked on the glass, but no one answered. So, instead, I kicked the glass. It shattered inward, but my foot hurt like crazy. I slipped through the crack, hoping not to cut myself on the edges of the glass.

The register counter was empty,  and so were the halls that I could see. I walked towards the counter, my hands balling into fists. Suddenly, a shot rang out, and I dove, rolling behind the counter. A voice called out, “Who’s there?”

“My name’s Melchizedek Phillips!” I yelled back. “If I come out, do you promise not to  shoot me?”

“Nothing doing!” the man, whoever he was, shouted. “Only if you answer this question correctly. Are you for Thor or against him?”

“Considering I just got kicked out of where I used to live by him, I’m against him.”

“Wrong answer,” the man said, and the gun fired again, blasting a hole through the wood. “Thor’s my brother, and he doesn’t like to be called stupid.”

“I never called him stupid!” I said, taking a look at my attacker. His arm had become a gun. The entire freaking arm. Talk about firearms.

Puns aside, he was a huge threat. Just as he fired again, I started out, running for the door. A spray of bullets followed me, as, apparently, the man could switch between regular shotgun and machine gun.

I dove through the hole, the glass slashing into me. Well, my left leg, anyway. I hobbled towards the car, yelling for them to get it started. But no one was watching outside. My leg was cut deeply, and I struggled to walk properly. I grabbed the rope, and started climbing.

The man had come to the door now, and was firing at me. I banged on the car door, hoping that if they hadn’t heard the gunshots, they would hear me. They didn’t.

I dropped to the ground, running behind a tire. Then I saw why no one had responded. They had all been taken out of the car and tied up with (can you believe it?) rubber bands. Everyone except Weston, that is. He had a hair twisty.

I pulled out my knife, stumbling forward. The guards saw me, but not before I had thrown my knife. Inexplicably, Kincaid had been able to catch it with his hand, and slash his band bonds. They didn’t fall, they whipped off of him, and whacked the two beside him, Samantha and Pyro.

Speaking of Pyro, he began the next act, letting his hands flare up. (Does anyone mind if I make another firearm joke?) The two then proceeded to let the others loose. I turned, climbing the rope again. This time, the door opened and I rolled in. The hail of bullets still raged, but  I was safer now. I ran to where we kept our ‘swords’, various knives we had shaped handles for so they could be handled by the now-tiny human race.

I threw them out the door, where they were picked up by my clan. Then, grinning, I collapsed on the edge of the floor, watching the action. My leg wouldn’t support my weight anymore, unfortunately.

Everyone turned, making their way for the rope. Pyro lit the area around on fire, keeping everyone away as Phillipsclan climbed. Everyone worked as fast as they could, and I did my best to help pull them in. After the last member pulled their ragged body in, Drew started the car. We sped off, hoping that they wouldn’t chase us.

“A bit close,” I said, sitting up. My leg still hurt like the dickens, but Pyro and Gwen were working on it. Now, I’m going to explain that phrase for a moment: The dickens hurt because they are boring! This doesn’t mean that my leg was boring, however, it simply meant that I was in a great deal of pain. Almost as bad as  trying to read Bleak House for school. Ugh.

As they worked, I gave them the same talk I just gave you, They seemed only mildly interested. Drew turned on the radio, probably to block out my monologue. “Today,” the newscaster said, “President John Smith made the announcement  that they would be fighting against the invaders.”

“I might not be into politics, but isn’t our president. Vincent Paltroni?” Pyro asked. I shrugged.

“You haven’t been paying attention,” Arthur explained. “Paltroni died when the toxin hit, as did his Vice-President. John Smith is just a man Congress put into power.”

“There’s no way his name could be John Smith,” I said, then winced as Gwen cleaned my wound.

“It’s probably just a stooge so Congress can pull the strings. The House wanted to make the decision, but Senate got to it first,” Arthur said, sitting as well.

John Smith’s voice came on over the radio. “These men, whoever they are, will not get the advantage over us. We are the United States of America. I will fight to the best of my ability to repel these invaders. Our shores will be protected.”

“As you can hear, President Smith is declaring war on whoever has attacked Boston.”

“Turn it up!” I exclaimed, as this was the first thing I had heard of it. Drew did so, and the sound nearly blasted out my eardrums. “Turn it down!” I shouted, and rolling his eyes, Drew complied

“You said-” Drew was going to make a joke that I wasn’t in the mood to hear, so I cut him off.

“I know what I said, and I’m sorry. Just let me listen.”

“Thirty people were killed, countless other injured in the attack on Thursday,” the newscaster said. “It was led by people who appeared approximately two feet high.”

“Not regular humans,” I said, and Arthur nodded.

“Maybe a group of supersized Gifted?” he said, using a super old term for Majors. After I introduced that phrase, everyone loved it. Gifted? Pfff. That word was lame. However, this was before I had started calling anyone that, so, we were limited to Gifted.

“Maybe. But there’s an awful lot of them. We didn’t have that many of any kind of Gifted back in Syracuse.” Gabriel’s reasoning was sound, but something didn’t add up for me.

“So the toxin didn’t affect these people like it did us? And if that’s the case, why didn’t we have anyone like that in Syracuse?”

“Maybe they’re not human,” Samantha said, grinning.

“Yeah, like that’s the answer, Sam,” Arthur said, smiling. Samantha smiled back, and suddenly, everyone else were interested in the ceiling or the floor. We all knew that they had a thing for each other. In fact, the only people oblivious to that fact were Arthur and Samantha themselves. It sounds wrong, but what I mean is that they didn’t know they were doing things like this.

Anyway, enough about the romance. Onto something more interesting.

We drove half an hour, pulling into a small town. We parked outside of Tony’s Convenience Store, and got out. We didn’t know how long we were going to be driving, so I had decided to stock up on supplies as soon as we could. Several cars sat nearby, and I ordered Weston and Gabe to siphon the gas. They looked at me like ‘What the heck, Dek?’ but did it nonetheless.

Meanwhile, the rest of us went into Tony’s Convenience Store. I could move easier now, apparently quick healing was part of the MiniTox’s effects.

We strolled down the aisles, picking out the things we were going to want. Without Weston to pick push our shopping cart, or Gabe to lift us to where we could walk on the shelves, it presented more of a problem than we had thought it would. So, we were limited to window-shopping.

A can of baked beans was on the bottom shelf, and Pyro, trying to be funny, pulled it off and got on, walking slowly down the row. We all chuckled, but then, something came whizzing along the ground, knocking the can out from underneath him. We all turned, and saw our enemy. Three men, dressed in black, stood at the end of the aisle, one with fire in his hands, another, tearing up the dirt, and the third floating.

From the other end of the aisle came the shouts of victory, so we turned. A man with rocks floating above his head, a woman with what looked like glue dripping from her hands, a man who looked like a Minor (as in, he didn’t have any powers, not that he was really young) and another who kept shifting between a rabbit with fangs, (Bunnicula?) a hawk, and his human form.

“We’re in trouble,” I murmured.

“You said it, Dek,” Gwen whispered back. We formed a circle, preparing to fight, but knowing that if it came down to it, we were at the disadvantage. I could hear more people coming, joined the men on one side, and the others at the, well, other side.

In the middle of two halves of an army. And everyone knows that two halves always want to make one whole.

Chapter Four: Self Preservation; or, the Art of Canning Oneself

While the main powerhouse was Thorsclan,other, smaller, clans began appearing, mostly in the Adirondacks,where they could easily repel Thor’s attacks. The strongest was one calling itself ‘Black River Clan’, but they fell apart in winter, as they could not keep warm. The next strongest was the ‘Shifters’, full of Majors who could shapeshift. They did last out Thorsclan, later joining the Adirondack clan, during the-” -Encyclopedia Britannica

Sorry about cutting it off there, but, well, there are spoilers in the next sentence. And you don’t want me to spoil the entire story for you, do you? If so, then skip to the end of the book and read the epilogue. I’ll do a recap there. Entirely in rhyme.  Beat that!

Anyway, back to the story.  Remember, we’re in Tony’s Convenience Store, surrounded by the enemy.

We stood in the circle, not sure what to do. I knew I had to take charge, to make sure I came forth as the leader. “Pyro, grab another can,” I ordered, grabbing one myself. The others did it also, putting cans of baked beans around them.

Soon, we had a small barricade around us, with us in the middle. “Okay, Dek, now what do we do?” Drew asked, and I smiled.

“Ever heard of a pincer movement?” I asked, and I saw a few nods, but mostly puzzled expression. “It’s what they’re doing to us right now. Get on either side of the group, so they have nowhere to go, then move in for the kill. It’s based off of what crabs and lobsters do. But there’s one thing: If you get really close to the crab or lobster’s face, they can’t reach with their arms.”

“Where’s the head?” Arthur asked, catching on.

“I have no idea, so that was actually a bad illustration,” I confessed. “But, we can buy more time if we go straight through that shelf there,” I pointed to the one that, if we went through it, would lead us to the next aisle. “When I give the signal, move your cans so we have a straight pathway to it.”

I poked my head up, looked at both sides of the opposing force. They had grown in number, with about twenty-five people in all around. And more still coming.

I nodded, and everyone pushed, pulled, teleported, or somethinged their can. I ran to the shelf, grabbing the first thing I could (toilet paper, actually) and pulling it off the shelf. The others ran to help me, tearing off disinfectant wipes, more toilet paper, and other things you would find in bathrooms. When a bar of soap passed, I slashed off a good sized chunk with my knife and stuck it in my pocket.

“My mother told me that cleanliness was next to Godliness,” I said in explanation to no one.

Our worries, however, weren’t over when we cleared out the shelf. On the back, separating the two shelves, was a thin sheet of metal. “Pyro,” I sang, and he grinned. Lighting his hand, he slowly cut a piece large enough to let us through. As we slipped to the other side, Kincaid stopped me.

“Dek, if we don’t make it out of this alive, I need to tell you something,” he said, looking at the ground. “I feel that following you is going to get me killed someday.” His voice was serious, and I shook my head.

“I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen,” I said, my head changing directions and nodding.

“Don’t say that,” Kincaid said. “Just promise me that if I die, you won’t feel like it’s your fault. Please.”

I nodded, then followed the older boy through the hole. He knew more than he was telling, I could tell. But I didn’t press the matter.

We pushed through the next shelf with ease. It was a cooking supplies shelf, so we mostly were pushing spices out of the way. Gwen was the first one on the ground, and looking both ways before crossing, she dashed to the other side. Drew followed, then Pyro, Samantha, Arthur, I was the last one, speeding across the gap so fast that I suspected they didn’t even see me.

We huddled there, waiting. Then, cautiously, I dashed up to the edge of the aisle. The people on the side had started to advance on where we had been. I motioned for the others to join me, and they did so. We sprinted around the corner to the next aisle away from the clan.

We needed a place to hide, and quickly. The ‘Tony’s-Convenience-Store-Clan’ would soon find that we were gone, and come looking. And with the numbers they had, it was easy to imagine the result. (If you don’t understand what I’m trying to say, then please close the browser and read Dick and Jane)

Then I spotted it: the perfect hiding place. They were like Mason Jars, except that they were smoke colored, so that you couldn’t see inside. “Get in,” I ordered, and my crew obeyed.

“I’m going to have to put a lid on, so it looks like there’s something in here,” I said.

“There is something in here,” Drew complained.

“I’m going to need you to hold your breath. I’ll try and leave a crack, but I don’t know how I can do that.”

“Uh, Dek, I had a solution,” Pyro said. “I’ll just make a tiny hole in some letter, so they can’t see it.” He picked up one of the lids, inscribed with the label Mason.

“Or we could do that,” I said, getting to one of the jars. A holed lid was put over me, and I hunkered down, trying to fit. My head bumped the lid, and I struggled to stop it from doing so.

I peered out my smoky den. I couldn’t see anything, besides the jars beside me. Faintly, I heard the noise of people finding out that their quarry is gone. In other words, the sound of complete and utter anger.

The ‘Tony’s-Convenience-Store-Clan’ came into the aisle, hounding for our blood. My pulse skyrocketed as they came up and tried to see into the jars. But trying to see in was harder than trying to see out, so they moved on. We continued sitting there until, finally, Pyro tipped his jar over and crawled out. We all proceeded to follow his example, not caring if the ‘Tony’s-Convenience-Store-Clan’ was going to find us or not.

I studied the other side of the aisle, the one we had not touched yet. Smiling, I said one word. “Condiments.”

The ‘Tony’s-Convenience-Store-Clan’ heard us banging around and came back, as quick as they could. But this time, we were ready. From the bottom shelf, we had gotten a ‘Family Size’ container of vegetable oil, a stick of butter, and as many bottles of Maple Syrup as we could find. The latter we had poured out around us, so that they couldn’t get close, unless they were flying. Maple Syrup is, after all, the stickiest thing you can put onto pancakes.

The oil we added to the maple syrup, let the two mix. The butter we also melted and spread around. Then, we grabbed some pots and sticks and formed a convenience store band. Granted, our music was some of the worst you could ever hear, and the lyrics (created by the magician himself, Drew Taylor) were horrendous. They went something like this:

“Oh, we’re trapped in a convenience store!” (Bang on the pot, bang on the pot) “Not exactly convenient, if you ask me. Which no one did, so nevermind” (See former parentheses, see former parentheses) “Why couldn’t we have gotten stuck in a Walmart?”

By this time, the ‘Tony’s-Convenience-Store-Clan’ had reached us. They stared at the mixture with something akin to disgust, which is what I would feel if I saw it. Then, shaking their heads, they charged in….and got stuck on the maple syrup.

“Fire light, fire bright,” Pyro said, igniting his hand.

“Don’t, you fool!” one of the people yelled.

“Let us go in peace,” I said, and they shrugged.

“Okay. But only if you beat the turtles.”

Turtles? After Thor, Mr. Firearm and, come to think of it, the shrinky thing, turtles sounded easy.

“Why not?” I said. Ha ha, let’s all laugh at the little cute idiot. Because that’s what we were dealing with here. Well, what they were dealing with. (Just so you know, I’m the cute little idiot)

Everyone grinned, and, laughing (which should have tipped us off to begin with), led us out of the store and into their backyard. It turns out that Tony’s Convenience Store was right next to a golf park, which in turn, was right next to a river. The group that had taken us belonged to the golf park, and had been stuck there ever since the shrinking happened.

This in and of itself wasn’t surprising, but what they had done with the place, now that was surprising. Instead of hunkering down in Tony’s Convenience Store, as we would have done, they had camped out on the golf course. The most interesting feature of said golf course was the turtle pit.

Unfortunately, I’m not joking here. The ‘Tony’s-Convenience-Store-Clan’ had rounded up seven turtles from the river, and trapped them in a pit about two feet deep. The pit they had dug using an Earth Major. (Just for future reference, Arthur’s kid brother Liam turned out to be an Earth Major. Pretty cool, all the different things he could do)

Our group was shown the pit, then, smiling and laughing, they pushed us in. Gabe and Weston weren’t with us, and we were alone with seven turtles, some snapping, some not. I looked at Pyro. “You think you could fry of of these for supper?”

He laughed, thinking I had made a joke. “Nah, this would be to much for us.”

“Pyro, seriously. I need to know. Can we get out of this alive?”

“Come on, Dek,” Kincaid said. “It’s a good day to die.”

I remember his words from earlier, about how he expected to die if he followed me. I shook my head. “Not today, it’s not. Now, let’s show these idiots how Phillipsclan fights!” With those brave words, we waited for the turtles to attack. You would think they would move slowly, but that wasn’t the case.

They sped across the expanse between us in seconds, their beaks snapping. I jumped, flipping over one of the ugly heads, and landing on the shell. The beast tried to turn, and catch me in its jaw, but I was too quick, leaping out of the way. The others did their various things, except for Arthur and Samantha, who were both Minors, and thus, couldn’t really do anything, well, major. Or Major. Not sure about how that should be done.

Kincaid’s hands flickered. Literally. Pyro’s hands flickered. Figuratively. The flames on his hands, however, did flicker. Together, they attacked the turtles, one roundhouse kicking them, the other cooking them.

As I danced with my seven partners, I called out to Gwen, who was busy keeping herself, her brother and our two Minor friends alive. “Take them to the water!” I called, and instantly, the four disappeared. I slapped my forehead, or to be more precise, I face-planted on the nearest turtle shell. I had meant for her to take the turtles, but I guessed the humans would do as well.

Our odds had gone from seven against seven to three against seven, and let me tell you, the majority was not on our side. As I flipped over another bone-crushing beak, I contemplated the meaning of life. Mostly about why it would ever end in so short a time.

I thought that I was invincible, spinning and jumping around the (insert-your-own-fancy-word-for-turtle-because-if-you-don’t-I’ll-end-up-cursing). Unfortunately, I wasn’t, and landed in the open mouth  of a (censored) turtle.

See? I told you I was going to curse. People these days, they just don’t listen.

I could feel the beak begin to close around me. I fought with it, pushed, kicked, did anything I could, but all the while, felt my bones began to crack. Suddenly, it stopped. I looked up, out of the pit, and saw someone leaning over us. He had a youthful face, and a small golf club was clutched in one hand.

“Stop this, Guntar,” he said, standing upright. I felt myself moving, being drawn to the top of the pit. I landed softly on the dirt and looked at the kid again. He was probably around eleven or twelve, most likely there with his family when the shrinky thing happened. .

The other two in the pit rose as well, landing next to me. “Is that how Gabe feels?” asked Pyro, and I shrugged.

“Probably it’s a little bit different, as he can control it.”

“Yeah, hadn’t considered that,” Pyro acquiesced, turning his gaze onto our savior. “Who’s the kid?”

“The name’s David,” the ‘kid’, replied, turning back to us. “I have what people call telkintic powers.”

“You mean telekinetic,” I corrected, and he raised his club threateningly.

“I can put you back there,” he said, pointing to the turtle pit. “Or you can accept my telkintic powers.”

“Phillipsclan, let’s go,” I whispered, and Kincaid nodded.

“Right, because we can so outrun who knows how many Majors, as well as a telkintic one who can just grab us anytime.”

A big burly man came up. “What is it, Davey?” he asked, his lips forming a sneer. “Don’t like to see bad things? Maybe you should go back to your dolls.”

David’s voice grew cold. His bravery was astounding. I got the feeling that he wasn’t all he seemed. “Guntar, how about I make you into a life-sized puppet? I could, you know. I could just make your arm, oh, I don’t know, whack into your own face,” Guntar’s arm sprung up and slapped himself across the face. “Or, what if I made you trip?” Guntar fell, face first, into the ground.

“David, stop,” I said, walking to him.

“Get away!” he cried, slamming into me with his ‘telkintic’ powers. I rolled along the ground, rising to my feet. Gritting my teeth, I moved back to him, wincing as the wound in my leg started to flame with pain.

“David, stop,” I repeated, and he turned to me. What I saw creeped me out more than a man with gun barrels for arms, or even the giant rat that I had to fight. (Long story, but suffice it to say, rat traps don’t always kill the rats) I saw pure and utter hatred. Nothing could stand against such loathing.

I shook my head. “David, I’m sorry,” I said, turning away. “Come on, Pyro, Kincaid. Let’s go.” I left the golf course, heading for the water. I turned back when I heard a sniffling noise. David was kneeling before Guntar, crying.

And Guntar was laughing.

 

Looking for the next Majors and Minors story? Find it here

Majors and Minors: Chapter Two

I was planning to submit this several days before NaNoWriMo, with the challenge to our readers to participate. However, I realized on Wednesday, ‘Hey, it’s the second day of November, and I haven’t posted anything!’

Oh, well.  Anyway, here is the second installment of Majors and Minors.

Chapter Two: So Begins Phillipsclan

The MiniTox affected many different people many different ways. However, along with shrinking people, it also gave a many powers as well. These empowered people were later called Majors by the leader of the Adirondack Clan, Melchizedek Phillips (see page 342)
The non powered people were renamed ‘Minors.’ The gifts were various, some could fly, others could run extremely fast, and there are reports that some could manipulate time. (For all Major powers ever recorded, see page 285)

So, in case you didn’t notice, my name was in there. It’s true, I did lead the Adirondack Clan for a while, but that wasn’t until much later. So we’ll deal with that fact later.

I left Mrs. Taylor at the house with Judy, while Gwen, Drew and I set out. I didn’t even know what we were going to do, but I knew we had to get supplies. I also knew that we should check on our friends. After I told my companions my ideas, they decided that friends should come first. So off we went, to the Jacobsons. They lived the closest, right down the street.

Drew pulled us into the driveway, then opened the door for me. I leaped out, running up to the door. Then I turned, as the door wasn’t opened. “Drew!” I yelled, and as if summoned, he fell out of the car.

“Yes?”

“The door,” I replied, as he pulled himself to his feet. He stretched out a hand, and the door clicked. I ran up the steps and pulled it open, getting my hands into the crack underneath. “Weston? Mrs. Jacobson!” I called as I walked through their mudroom. “Hello?”

A faint whimper brought me to their living room. There I found Weston, bent over the prone form of his mother. I ran over to him, and he looked at me through grief filled eyes. “Melchizedek, she’s gone,” he said, his voice breaking.

“Weston, I need you to come with me. I know you don’t want to, but right now, I need you, okay, man?“ Weston nodded, but he obviously didn’t care. “Wait here one second,” I ordered, then ran out to the car.

“Mrs. Jacobson didn’t make it,” I said, shaking my head. Gwen put a hand to her mouth, and Drew looked grim. We had all known her really well. She invited us over for supper, made these amazing chocolate chip cookies, but at the same time, she wasn’t our mother. There was no way we could feel what Weston was right now.

In a flash, Gwen was gone, into the house. Drew and I stood there. “It’s just wrong, man,” Drew said, shaking his head. “She didn’t need to die. None of this needed to happen.”

I shook my head as well. “That’s just it. We spend so much time thinking about the way things should have been that we don’t focus on what really happened. Mrs. Jacobson is dead, Drew, and there’s nothing we can do about it. All we can do is help Weston get over it.”

“It’s just that, well, it seems like you don’t care.”

I took a deep breath. “As tragic as it is, at least Weston knows how she died. My mother, my father even, could be anywhere, lying dead from this. All I know is that I don’t want that to happen. And the uncertainty is killing me.”

Drew looked at me with sympathy, then started walking towards the house. His dad had died when he was little, and he didn’t have many memories of him. But he had his mom, and she was stilll alive. He could never feel the fear that I did at the moment.

I stood there, by the tire, for a few more minutes, then sagged against the rubber. My words were coming back to haunt me. ‘We spend so much time thinking about the way things should be, that we don’t thinking about they way the are.’ All I could do was wish that I could go back to my normal life, with normal friends, but the wish was futile. Useless.

I walked to the house, faster than Drew had done earlier, but slower than if I had ran. I entered the living room, and saw once again the pain on Weston’s face. This time, I couldn’t stop myself. I turned and ran out. As fast as I could.

My mind couldn’t believe, not for a second, that it could happen to my family. Never to my family. My parents weren’t old, they wouldn’t die from the toxin, would they? I ran down the road, not pausing even when I came to the cross roads. It was there that I saw the first crash.An SUV had driven off the road and crumpled its front end around a tree. I think it was a willow, but I’m not really sure. Trees aren’t my specialty, and plus, it’s been how many years now? (And no, I’m not telling you. I never give my age out)

I ran up and jumped onto the back. I peered through the window, but couldn’t see anyone. I tried to lift the back door, but I could hardly even push on the button. Then I slapped my forehead. I ran to the front, and looked for any holes in the windows.

There it was. I had to be very careful, but I though that maybe, just maybe, I could squeeze through the hole. I inched along the crushed hood, trying not to slip and fall to my doom. Then I grabbed the rear-view mirror on the passenger side door and swung myself around.

The window had been let down just barely enough to allow me to squeeze through. I thanked the Lord for it, then did exactly that: squeezed through. I dropped onto the cushion of the seat, which for me was a pretty long drop. I looked around the interior of the car. Two kids, and one adult. The adult had been thrown forward, and was unconscious. The kids looked shaken, but okay.

I jumped down to where they were. “Hey, hey, it’s okay, look, I’m here to help, okay?”They looked at me with frightened eyes. I looked at the doors. It was one of the ‘pull the handle and push,’ kind, unlike the automatic doors that most people had in those days.

“My name’s Melchizedek, okay? What’s your name?” There was a boy and a girl, both about the same age. The girl spoke first. “I’m Sarah. This is Liam. We were with our brother, Arthur. He’s hurt.” I looked at Arthur. He didn’t look good. He needed someone who knew how to help him, and fast. But with my entering the window gig, I had prevented myself from getting out again.

“Right then. We’re going to get out of here. Right now, in fact.” With those brave and daring words, I walked over the seat belt. I pulled on it, then started climbing. Now, a thing to remember: seat belts are not ropes. They are, in fact, long pieces of cloth that have really sharp edges that dig into your palms when you try to climb them. And, as an added bonus of pain, they’re not exactly the thinnest thing to climb. So you’re kind of wrapping your body around it, and climbing, and scratching your legs and hands and hoping, that somehow you’ll make it to the top.

I did, although it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I held onto the bar  that it wrapped around, then swung onto  the car door. I missed what I was aiming for (the handle) and instead hit something else (the window). It didn’t work like the movies, where the actor slides down the glass. Instead, I kind of crumpled off, and fell backwards. Instead of waiting to slam into the car floor, I grabbed the door ledge. My fingers felt like they were going to fall off, but I held on. Then, slowly, I pulled myself onto the handle.

“Okay, I’m going to pull, and you’re going to push, okay?” The two kids nodded at me. I pulled the handle, and they pushed. They pushed with all their might. But it was no use. The door wouldn’t budge. But, then again, most doors don’t when they’re locked.

I skittered along to where the lock jutted from the door. I got as good of a grip as I could, the strained upwards. With a ‘click’, the lock, well, unlocked. I moved back to the handle. “Okay, try this again,” I said, and pulled. This time, with the kids pushing as hard as they could, the door swung open. I dropped, my legs absorbing most of the impact.

“Okay, I’m going to get help, but I need you to stay here, okay?” The kids nodded, and I ran off. My legs pushed me to another limit, to a point that I could hardly even see anything, it was moving so fast. I stopped off at the Taylors, as Mrs. Taylor was a former nurse. I explained the situation, then told her to set up an emergency hospital, as we wouldn’t be able to get anyone to the real one. Then I ran back to the Jacobsons.

Drew and I left Gwen comforting Weston, who was still distraught. And who could blame him? We didn’t have anyone to take the body, so they had gotten him to go into the kitchen. “This is stupid,” Drew said again, as we drove to where the crash had happened. I got out and started helping Sarah and Liam in. Drew took a look at Arthur.

“It looks like it’s just a hit to the head, which might lead to a concussion, but he should recover all right.” I nodded in deference to his opinion. His mother was the nurse, not mine. Together, we carried him to the  other car, then Drew started off again. We made it back his mother in short order, and left Arthur in her care.

“We’ve got to get more nurses, and doctors,” Drew said, echoing my thoughts.

“Some medical supplies would be nice, too,” I replied, looking at their first aid kit. It was good, but it wouldn’t be able to do everything we needed. “We’re going to need batteries, in case the electricity gets shut off, canned food, as that’ll keep longer, and whatever else we can find.”

We left once again, and drove down to the Dollar General on Route 11. Drew opened the doors for us, and we began our shopping trip. I ran into the back and found the employees cart, then took Drew back to start it. With a grin, we moved around the store, at a snail’s pace.

“I could belly crawl faster than this thing,” I moaned, and Drew laughed. We started loading everything we could into the cart. I found other racks that were on wheels, and started moving them. A man, who I had usually seen behind the desk, asked me what I was doing.

“I’m taking what I need,” I replied, smiling. “Would you like to help?” The man raised an eyebrow, then shrugged. Apparently, he was extremely strong, for as soon as he pushed it, the cart flew across the store and against the other wall. I smiled, and ran over to it. From there, I pushed it out to the car, and unloaded it. Soon, the employees, Rick, Andrea, and Sam according to their name tags, were helping.I did my best to keep up with them, but it was harder than you would have imagined.

I moved mechanically, my mind racing with different ideas. I hated the thought that we were raiding the store, but at the same time, we did need it, and we could distribute it as necessary.  Soon, other people who had been in the store when the MiniTox hit started to help us. It took us several hours, and even then, we hadn’t emptied the entire store.

Sam, who had discovered he  had control over fire, volunteered to stay and guard the store while we delivered the goods to the Taylors. Thanking him profusely, we drove off.

“We just robbed a store,” Drew said,  and I nodded.

“I wish I could say that I didn’t want to do that, but at the same time, I don’t want a gang to get it.”

“We are a gang,” Alex, one of the people in the store, said. “We’re like Melchizidek’s Gang.”

“I prefer the term ‘Clan,’ “ I said, and Drew laughed.

“Fine. In that case, I dub this Phillipsclan.  After all, you are our leader.”

And strangely, the name stuck. So that’s the story of how Phillipsclan started.

Majors and Minors: Chapter One

There are several novels I have tried to write. My hope was that with this blog, I would be forced to finish some of them. Unfortunately, this thing called ‘College’ happened, forcing me to discontinue writing and move to academia. So, instead of trying to write more, I’ll pick and choose from some of my older stuff. The story you’re about to read has a long explanation behind it. There’s not an easy way to tell it without the details, though, sorry.

Two years ago (2014), my co-worker introduced me to this thing called ‘NaNoWriMo,’ short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge to yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days, during the month of November. Two friends and I decided to participate. I started the first few days eagerly, anticipating what this month would bring. Only a few days in, and 8,000 words into the New York Times Bestseller (or so I thought), I accidentally hit the wrong button the tablet I was using and deleted my entire progress. 

After going through the initial phase of shock and anger, I sat down, this time with a completely different idea, one that had come from a dream. Three days before NaNoWriMo, my sister had a dream about people shrinking. Her world was complex, but I too the basic premise. The result was my first novel, Majors and Minors.

Well, in the re-reading stage of editing, I decided that I wanted to change a few things. For instance, there was a lot of death. Characters showed up, then I thought to myself ‘I don’t need them,’ so I killed them. So I re-wrote the entire thing. My plots became far more wild, but followed more of a cohesive pattern than my first draft. This is the first chapter of the revised edition of Majors and Minors: The Days of Philipsclan. I apologize in advance for all typos that my editor (myself) missed.

Chapter One: Honey, I Shrunk the Human Race

April Fifth, 2046. The day that would live on in infamy. Another life form, not human in nature, committed the greatest single act of terrorism ever to befall mankind. And they did so against the entire world.

Beings now known as the Neph created and released a chemical compound that reacted with the human body in such a way that the human body shrunk. Each reaction was fundamentally the same, with each human becoming under a foot high. A six foot man might be just over eight inches. The tallest man recorded after that day was merely 1’2″.

Things in close contact with the human body, such as clothing, also shrunk. Scientist’s only explanation is that they had absorbed so much sweat over the years, they were nearly part of the human.” -Excerpt from Encyclopedia Britannica

Many people were affected that day. Okay, all people were affected that day. What that excerpt doesn’t tell you is the fact that the MiniTox (as it was called later) killed many of the older and younger population.

So the population shrank, in all senses of the word. The survivors were still a great deal, mostly kids from seven to adults in their forties. Most people fifty and older didn’t make it. The world was a wreck. And me? Well, I was out racing.

Let me explain. The day dawned like usual, bright, but kind of cold, typical for Central New York weather. I lived in the Nedrow/Lafayette area, which sits right next to Syracuse. Don’t know where that is? Look it up. It’s also known as the Salt City.

I won’t give out my address, as my parents told me never to trust anyone with that kind of info. However, you can know that I lived on Lafayette Road. (Not Lafayette Avenue, which is in Syracuse itself) Next door lived my best friends, Gwen and Drew Taylor. Gwen was a year older than me, Drew a year younger.

Oh, right, I have to introduce myself. My name’s Melchizedek Phillips. Cool name, right? That’s what I thought. Most of my friends, however, call me Dek. I’ll explain why later. Just you can get an idea of what I looked like back then, just imagine the most handsome dude you’ve ever seen. (Guys, it is not yourself, you know that, right?) Now, take that image and throw it out the window. That’s not me. Unless, of course, you knew me back then. In which case it would have been me.

I had short brown hair, that I always had to flick to the side as it grew so it wouldn’t fall into my eyes. My eyes, by the way, were blue, like blueberries, my sister always said. Come to think of it, they still are blue. Anyways, I was not quite six foot, just a few inches below. Got a picture in your head?

My best friend, Drew, always had his hair buzzed. It was dark, like mine, but not the same shade, a bit lighter. Mine was mistaken for black; his wasn’t. His eyes were brown too, but they had a slight hazel feel to them. His skin was darker than mine, both from being able to tan better and his Hispanic lineage. He was shorter than me, about 5’7″.

His sister, Gwen also had dark hair. However, she didn’t buzz it off. It fell about shoulder length, and she usually kept it in a ponytail. Her eyes were a slightly darker brown than her brothers, and boy, could they pierce right into your soul. At least, that’s what I felt like. Gwen also had what they called a ‘condition.’ I never really got the details, as after the MiniTox hit, the ‘condition’ never really affected her again.

Like I said, we were out racing when it happened. Well, Gwen wasn’t racing. Did I mention her condition? Thought so. Drew and I were racing. I was beating him, like usual, when I found myself pulling away from him. That in and of itself wasn’t strange, as he never really could keep up with me anyway, but this was something completely different. My speed seemed increased, which was strange, Little dips and hills that I had never noticed before that day appeared, causing me to stumble. I fell to the ground, then looked around.

The world was huge. I had known that since the day I was born. It’s kind of drilled into you. But now, well, everything seemed larger than life. Even the blades of grass that I was laying on were impossibly big. I pushed off of the ground, and realized that they were bigger than usual. Some of this grass was taller than I was. I looked behind me, back at Drew. He had fallen as well, and didn’t seem like he was going to get back up anytime soon.

I ran back, again, prodigiously fast. My legs pumped, and the grass became a blur. Within seconds, I was standing next to my best friend. I knelt quickly, checking him for signs of life. He was breathing, and his pulse rate was fine. However, he wasn’t awake. I picked him up, fireman style. He was heavier than I had anticipated, and I groaned under the weight. Then I ran back to where we had started running from, and where Gwen still stood. Like me when I first realized what had happened, she was staring in utter confusion. I slowed as I reached her, and set her brother on the ground.

Finally, she noticed me. “Dek,” She began, “What just happened?”

Apparently, we all shrunk, and your brother fainted over it.” I smiled, and she raised an eyebrow.

Really?” She didn’t sound convinced. For which I don’t blame her. For all she knew she was in one of the VR machines at the mall. (For all those uneducated boors out there, VR means virtual reality) But I knew we weren’t. Unless, of course, our parents had taken us there while we were sleeping. Which they wouldn’t have done, but we won’t get into that.

Gwen, I’m not joking here. We shrunk, and we’re stuck halfway in the middle of nowhere.” In reality, we should have been in eyesight of the house. However, with our tiny eyeballs, it was rather hard to see that far.

She still wasn’t convinced. “Gwen, look at the grass! There’s no way that it could be that big!” Looking at the grass again, I suddenly realized why they called them ‘blades of grass.’ Not only do they look like little swords, they cut like them too. However, the main difference is that grass doesn’t stand up on its own, it’ll fall over if you try to set it up. On the other hand, a sword will stick easily into the ground and remain there until it falls over from rust. But enough about grass and swords.

Dek, if that’s true, we’re in trouble.” ‘You don’t say,’ I thought, but kept my big mouth closed.

We do need to figure out what to do with your brother, though,” I said instead, glancing at the form on the ground.

Let me think,” she said, looking around her. Then her eyes brightened. “I know, we can use the water bottle. We just have to splash some on his face, that’s all.” I thought about it for a second, then nodded.

Yeah, that would work, I guess.” Together, we worked to push the water bottle over. It was harder than you might think. Or not, if you’ve ever tried. The bottle was just a little taller than us, and had a large bottom to balance it on the ground. However, with quite a bit of effort, we were able to push it onto the ground.

Stand back,” I warned as I worked to undo the lid. It took both hands, and all my strength. In fact, if the lid hadn’t already been slightly unscrewed, I probably wouldn’t be able to open it all all. The water pressed against the lid, like racers ready to start running. I held it for as long as I could, then jumped out of the way. I wasn’t quick enough.

The water cascaded over me, throwing me to the ground. The downpour lasted only a few seconds, but for those seconds, I couldn’t do anything. Finally, the flow stopped, and I was able to pick myself off the ground, sopping wet.

You okay?” Gwen asked, and I gave the thumbs-up sign.

Better me than you,” I gasped, and grabbed the lid. I filled it with water, then stumbled over to my fallen friend. With effort, I dumped it over him. He sat up, gasping like I had a few seconds earlier.

What happened?” he spluttered, and I shrugged.

We shrunk, the shock it was to great for you, and you fainted. Anything else you’d like to know?”

He cocked an eyebrow at me. The Taylors liked raising eyebrows, in case you hadn’t noticed. Suddenly, my mind realized something. “I can run super fast,” I said, and both Taylors raised their eyebrows again. See what I mean?

Dek, now’s not the time for fooling around.” Gwen’s voice was adamant, but so was I.

I’m not.” I sped off, my legs racing like they had before. I felt the power flowing through, and forced myself to go faster. Then I spun, and sped back. The entire time elapsed? A couple of seconds. I stood in front of the siblings, who, instead of eyebrows up, had their jaws down.

We’ve got to get back to the house,” Drew said a few seconds later, after he had gotten his jaw back to it’s usual place on his face.

It’s going to take to long to walk back,” Gwen said, shaking her head. “And we don’t have that kind of speed that you do.”

I could carry you, but it would mean leaving one of you alone here.” I tried to keep my voice firm, and tried to keep in control of the situation. “I’m not ever going to consider that option.”

I would,” Drew said. “I know I can last for however long it takes. Just get my sister back to the house safely.” He locked eyes with me, and I nodded. I turned to Gwen, but didn’t see her. Instead, I saw a squirrel. Now, remember, this squirrel is quite larger than us. And we had no weapons.

Drew?” I said, and he turned his head from looking at the sky. “I think we’re in trouble.”

You could say that,” Drew said, edging away. I glanced around, quickly. There was nothing that I could see. Except for the one thing: A lid from a water bottle. I edged towards it, hoping the squirrel wouldn’t see me. Then I picked it up. It felt weird, holding it in my hands. And using both my hands to hold it.

Then, with the battle cry of “Ultimate!” I threw it like a Frisbee. It smacked the beast in the eye, and it moved back in pain. With a cry, I ran forwards again, snatched the lid up and attacked. I fought with everything in me, kicking, smacking, just hoping that it would run off. And it did, with me still on it.

I dove off, hoping to get clear. Instead, I rolled into a fence post. The squirrel ran up a tree, and sat there, watching us. I looked at Drew. He looked at me. We kept looking at each other.

Where’s Gwen?” I asked, finally breaking eye contact.

I have no idea,” he said, also looking around. I called out her name, but to no avail. She wasn’t around. I called again, and her voice came from behind me.

What?”

I jumped as I spun. She was standing right there. “What the heck are you doing, scaring me like that?” I shouted, but she just laughed. Then I noticed Drew laughing too. “What?” I asked.

Your face!” Drew gasped out. “I mean, I jumped twice as high as you, but you just had the,” he paused for breath as another wave of hilarity gripped him, “the stupider expression!”

I turned my gaze onto him, and he raised his hands, still laughing. “Just saying.”

I turned back to Gwen, who had calmed down a bit. “Seriously, Gwen, where were you?”

Back at the house,” she said sweetly. I raised an eyebrow, a habit I had picked up from them.

And how, might I ask, did you get there?”

I teleported,” she replied, still sweetly. “You aren’t the only one with a power, I guess.”

Drew entered the conversation. “Think you could take someone with you?”

Let’s see,” Gwen replied, grabbing my arm.

Hey, this hasn’t been tried out before! Why me? It could be dangerous!”

You’re closer,” Gwen replied, then teleported. Suddenly, I wasn’t aware of where I was, just where I was headed. Which, in this case, was the Taylor’s home. We reappeared on the kitchen table, and instantly, Gwen disappeared.

The hard varnished wood felt strange under my feet. I walked to the edge, and looked down to the floor. Mrs. Taylor was there, running around and trying to figure out what was going on. I jumped to the seat of a cushioned chair, bounced twice, as if it was a trampoline, then down onto the floor. I walked over to Mrs. Taylor.

Dek?” she asked, her eyes questioning whether or not I was really there.

Mrs. Taylor, I need you to tell your children that I’m going over to my house, okay? I’m going to check on my sisters.” My parents were both at work, I knew that.

I ran out the door, which had been left open for some reason, and into their garage. Their cat, Roald, was lounging there. I ran past him, and used his door to get out of the house. As I ran across the lawn that separated our houses, I prayed silently that my family would all right.

With powerhouses of jumps, I climbed the stairs to the front porch. Our front door was open, but our screen door was not. I pulled out the knife that I carried and stuck it into the screen. Looking at it, I realized that I had had it on me when we were fighting the squirrel. Shaking my head at my stupidity, I ripped open a hole larger enough for me to get through. It was harder than it sounds.

I squeezed through, checking around for my family. I called out for them, and a tiny voice answered me. “Dek?”

My youngest sister, Judith, came out the corner of the wall. Suddenly, there was crackling noise. I ran up to her, but the noise was just from the radio playing her favorite station. “We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you a news bulletin.” I moved in closer, so that I could hear it better. “At approximately eleven A.M. Eastern Time, a toxin was released into the air. We have received reports of deaths by this toxin.” The man’s voice stopped being a newscaster for a second. “I would take you somewhere else, so that you could hear more of this story, but right now, I’m the only one in the studio. I’ve stopped the music, but I’ll put it on in a minute. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do, I suppose just wait. But that’s all I can offer on the subject.

I know I don’t need to tell you how the toxin shrinks people, as I’m sure you’ve already figured that out. But please, I beg of you, wait until further notice before going out. We don’t know if anyone will be safe from this. Please, don’t leave your houses. Thank you.” With that, another song came on.

Dek?” My sister’s voice brought me back to reality.

Right, Judy, you stay here. I’m going to go over to the Taylors. Is Leslie upstairs?”

Leslie went to Alexis’s house.”

I snapped my fingers. “Okay, in that case, come on, we’re going to the Taylors.” I picked her up and started running. She pressed her face into my shoulder. I couldn’t tell if she was crying, but I figured she was. We reached the Taylors’ in short order. I pushed into the house through Roald’s door, then into the kitchen. Drew and Gwen where there, helping their mother.

Oh, Dek, good, you’re okay,” Gwen said, breathing a sigh of relief. She smiled at my sister. “How are you, Judy?”

Judy ran over to her and buried her face in Gwen. “Shh, shh,” Gwen said. “It’s going to be okay.”

Dek, can I talk to you?” Drew asked. I nodded and walked over to him.

What’s up?”

Dek, something feels different. Something inside. I don’t know, it’s like I’m in tune with something. Like I’m plugged into all the technology here.” He looked at me, like I had the answer. Which I didn’t, I might add.

If you feel in ‘tune with technology,’” I said, making my voice sound like one of the olden time hippies, “then do something with it.”

He stared at me, and I took a step back. Then I heard a noise. A deep thrumming noise, kind of like someone starting up a car. “That was me,” he said, as I ran towards the garage.

I smiled. Now we had transportation.

Can’t wait for more Majors and Minors? Find the second chapter here: https://gloriousmesssite.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/majors-and-minors-chapter-two/