as told by: Michael
“To get what one wants, there are but three ways to obtain it: Learn how to get it, Receive it, or –and this is the least desirable way— Steal it,” I told everyone, looking out at my classmates in my Psychology class. I hated presentations on things I’m damn sure everybody understood. I ran a lazy hand through my hair before reaching for the clicker for my PowerPoint show. “The easiest example, of course, is money,” with one click the screen lit up and showed examples of currency from across the ages and around the world.
They flashed on the screen and assembled on a black background in a hazy circle. For a second, I paused, not realizing that my design looked like that. It looked vaguely like a solar eclipse. “First way to get money, learn how. I.e. get a job,” I clicked again and a well done drawing of a young man –me— with my sketch book drawing a picture under the sky, a sky with a full solar eclipse hanging in it. This time I frowned. I don’t remember putting that there. The class chuckled and I snapped up my personable façade. I flashed a grin at them. I’m an artist for hire, a lot of my classmates throughout high school and now into college have hired me do to commissions. I’m damn good, if I do say so myself.
I clicked the remote again and a drawing of another young man opening a letter with money inside. I paused before speaking, looking at the man’s face and hair. I feel like I should know this guy, beyond the idea that I drew him. The way his hair fell in that dark, brooding manner of a side of his face just reminded me of someone. To top it all off, the design on the guy’s shirt was the same solar eclipse. I filled a mental note to examine my damn drawings before I present them. I coughed lightly and looked back at the class. “I apologize, a spaced out for a second. Kinda wished I was the guy opening the letter. Must be nice to get money like that, and that is the second way to get what you want: to simply receive it,”
I quickly moved on to a drawing of a woman walking by a dark alleyway with a partially concealed young man in shadow, staring at the woman’s purse. The young man’s eyes gleamed with an aura of foreboding, or so I thought at first. They were in fact, the same eclipse pattern. Frustrated with this unintentional reoccurrence, I turned back to the class said shortly “And last is thievery. Stealing to get what you want,” I finished and clicked off my display. I clasped my hands down in front of me. “Questions?” I asked.
The class shook their heads and I grinned. I didn’t want questions about the concepts, but I just knew that the Professor would bring up other things. “I do, Michael,” he said in his smooth British accent. I turned politely to the teacher. “I have three questions for you, though not about the concepts; you hit those nicely,” he commented kindly.
“Okay, I’ll answer to the best of my ability,” I responded cordially.
Professor Timmons thought about his questions for a second. “First, what element did you see recurring in every drawing of yours?”
I inwardly groaned, not wanting to get into this. “The imagery of the solar eclipse,” I stated. Professor Timmons nodded, waiting for me to continue. “I did not intentionally put those images into my presentation. In fact, I first noticed them as I was presenting,” I confessed.
“So, what does that symbol mean to you?” Professor Timmons asked me. Suddenly, for me, this became even more uncomfortable.
“I have no real answer for that. It just keeps recurring without my permission. Since it actually occurs today, I hope that will get it out of my system,” I replied. A few, awkward, light chuckles rippled across the room, my eyes fell across each of them. Lisa, Jessie, and Nick. I knew they would understand.
Timmons cleared his throat. “Then, I would hazard; your subconscious’s are trying to tell the four of you something,” he said neatly. “Next question: the young man receiving the money, who is he?” I blanched at that one as well. Professor Timmons really had an annoying habit of hitting the right questions.
I wiped all emotion off my face. “I don’t know. I feel like I should, like should recognize him, but his identity escapes me,” I said, pausing and analyzing his expression towards me. I noted that my reflection in his glasses revealed I was rapidly turning the remote in my hands. “In answer to your third question, the one you are about to ask me: I, once again, do not know who he is. This time, the feeling I get from seeing him is one that I should know him, but I really don’t want to,” I told him. He smiled that paternal smile he got whenever I preempted his questions correctly.
“In that case and putting the time into consideration, class dismissed,” Timmons said simply. The class got up as one and filed out. I packed up my notebooks and shoved my flash drive into my jacket pocket as I slung it on. I hurried out the door and noted the three people that laughed nervously at the eclipses waiting for me.
I hefted my bag onto one shoulder and looked up at the petite red haired girl across from me. Lisa. I made contact with her and instantly images of DNA and chromosomes filled my visions, inciting a vicious headache in me. I shook my head to clear away my vision. The muscular guy to my right grunted a laugh and narrowed his eyes at me. I looked at him, same thing happened, except this time it looked slightly different.
He grinned lightly at me fiddled with his cornrows on his head, his dark skin contrasting the white shirt he was wearing greatly. My mind made a side note: I always found it amusing that light skinned people tended to dark colors and vice versa. “So something weird is happening to you, too,” Nick said to me.
I didn’t answer. Moreover, I didn’t feel comfortable answering. “Weird stuff’s been happening to us, too, Michael,” Jessie said, causing me to look at her. More flashes. She ran a hand through her long blonde hair and the distinct odor of burnt hair filled our senses. “Son of a…” she cursed yanking her hand back from her head, smoldering hair on her palm.
My eyes went wide with shock. “So…spontaneous combustion with you,” I trailed off turning to Lisa, my eyebrows raised, awaiting her response.
“Hit Nick,” she told me in a voice that wasn’t completely her own, it felt very powerful and commanding. I was about to look at her like she was crazy but my right fist closed without my permission and swung a vicious backhand to his face. He raised his arms up in defense quickly but my fist passed through his arms and his face, coming to rest at my side.
“What the crap, Lisa,” Nick said harshly to her.
“Calm Down,” she said in the same voice and he instantly seemed placid.
“Persuasion for you…” I noted toward Lisa. Turning to Nick and poked him suddenly in the chest, his eyes widened and my hand passed through his chest. I pulled my hand out and then poked him again, this time solid. “And phasing for you…sometimes…” I added, looking between all of them.
“We should get out of the hallway if we’re doing this…” Jessie said. I nodded in agreement, but none of us moved.
“Let’s Walk,” Lisa said that voice. Everyone followed but me. I used all my willpower to not move. I felt something hot and wet under my nose so I reached up and touched it, then looked. Blood.
“Lisa, don’t ever do that to me again…” I told her. She noted I was bleeding and her eyes widened. “Don’t force me again,” I repeated. She nodded solemnly. I walked the few steps to catch up and we all headed out the building.
“So what’s up for you?” Nick asked me. I frowned and glanced at my reflection in the window as we were leaving; I made eye contact with myself and saw more flashes and my headache flared up.
“I’m not sure,” I admitted. “I made eye contact with all of you and my reflection in the window. Each time I saw lots of genetic coding, you know, DNA,” I told them, they all nodded in unison. “There was the normal deviance between the four of us that is the same as humans, but…” I trailed off, my eyebrows scrunching together as I gathered my thoughts.
“But what?” Lisa asked me curiously. I took a deep breath and shrugged; meeting her eyes again, no flash this time. I closed my eyes and thought about what I saw it went through my mind much slower. I saw the weird shape that stuck out to me. I got an idea and ran through Jessie and Nick and then me. I saw the same shape in different places along the chromosomes in them, but not me. I frowned and searched again, nothing. Frustrated, I panned out and looked at the twenty-three chromosomes, nothing there, I panned out farther and gasped. The twenty-three formed that shape.
I opened my eyes quickly and opened my mouth to speak but the eclipse began. Instinctively we all looked up and watched the entire thing. For ten minutes, the four of us didn’t move, just kept staring. By the end all but Jessie were rubbing our eyes to get rid of the burn feeling.
“So what did you discover?” Jessie asked me urgently. My world came back to me suddenly and my eyes lit up again.
“It’s genetic. The oddities we’re experiencing, it’s all in the genetic coding. Everything is normal for us except that I found this weird configuration in the three of you,” I pulled a pencil from my pocket along with my mini sketch pad from my back pocket. I flipped over the pad to the back and drew the ‘S-like’ symbol with a full dash in the top bend and two half-dashes in the inside of the lower bend. I ran over the lines many times over so it was very dark. I held it up to them.
“That is what I saw in you three,” I told them, passing the pad around.
“What about you?” Nick asked.
I frowned again. “I didn’t find it in the actual DNA coding like I did with you, so I kinda…panned out, to see the bigger picture, thinking one of my chromosomes might be shaped that way…” I trailed off, thinking again, getting more and more unnerved.
“And?” Lisa asked. “Was it one of them?”
I shook my head and took another deep breath. “No, wasn’t there. So I panned out to the completely compiled DNA. For reference, what yours looks like is a blob…” I chuckled to myself. “Mine isn’t a blob, it’s that shape,” I explained.
Nick grunted. “I don’t get it. What’s the point of that? I get how my phasing is helpful, how Lisa’s Voice is helpful and I guess how Jessie’s fire power is helpful. But what’s the point of seeing DNA?”
I shrugged, kind of annoyed with it myself. “Can you, err, manipulate it?” Jessie asked me. I contemplated it and focused on mine again. I mentally reached out and felt myself pass into an energy field surrounding the coding. I dropped back into my normal self and looked at them.
Lisa was looking at me funny. “You’re eyes did the weirdest thing,” she told me. I waited patiently for her to tell me. “They started glowing copper, the irises did. You weren’t blinking and the pupils shrunk rapidly until all there was, was iris: copper, glowing iris. Then you blinked and they turned your normal orange-brown,”
“Really? Weird,” I replied, then turning to Jessie. “I can touch it, but I’m not going to manipulate it until I have something in mind. It is the coding of my existence, y’know…” I told her with wry grin.
“Try to copy my power into you coding,” Nick told me. I shook my head quickly.
“Hell no, that sound really risky. What if I screw it up and then bam, I fall through the ground and get stuck there. Not a fun way to go…” I answered.
“Then do mine,” Lisa told me. “If you screw it up, it simply won’t work. No harm, no foul,” she told me.
I considered it for a bit before Jessie nudged me. “Try it, you’ll like it…” she goaded.
I caved. “Fine, first I got to memorize your coding, and then I need to implement it. I’d like to be sitting for this,” I said dryly. They agreed and we walked over to the nearest bench under the trees and I took it before them and lay down, facing up with my eyes closed.
“You ready?” Nick asked me. I nodded in response. I brought up Lisa’s pattern in my mind and focused on her oddity, memorizing it. I then opened my eyes and saw my own coding. I dropped in to the right section and reached out, grabbing the bonds and twisting it around until it matched hers. When everything was looking right, I dropped back to my body.
“Did it work?” Jessie asked me, her hand resting on my shoulder. I shrugged and sat up on the bench. Jessie and Nick sat down on either side of me. “Try it,”
“How?” I asked Lisa.
“Just focus all your willpower into a command and it’ll work,” she explained simply.
I thought about it and closed my eyes again, focusing my energies to do this. I opened them and locked eyes with Jessie. “Stand,” I said, my voice carrying the same demanding undertones. Jessie leapt to her feet unsteadily and stood rigidly still. “Go Back To Normal,” I said to her and she sat down awkwardly.
“I-I guess it works…” Jessie said shakily.
“I won’t do that to you again,” I told her. She nodded thankfully. I got an idea and my eyes lit up again. I quickly closed them. When I opened them again they were burning copper. I must have sat there for three or four minutes, stone still. When I dropped back into my body I grinned at Lisa. “Hit Me,” I said with more undertone than before. Since she was taken surprise by my command and threw a punch at my face. I smile wider and it passed right through me. Nick jumped back away from me and I looked at Jessie with a wicked grin on my face.
I snapped in front of me and a fireball erupted from my hand and into the air. Her jaw dropped. I looked in between my three stunned friends. “To get something you really want, you gotta learn how to get it,” I told them, still grinning.