"Let's go get some lunch," Sierra urged me to walk down the hall to the cafeteria. "Before everyone eats all the healthy food!" Sierra sarcastically joked. It was not likely that all the students in Cold Lake Secondary school would suddenly become healthy and organic. More than half of the people who attended this school were meat-eaters, or in another word, carnivores.
Sierra and I quickly headed down the hall and took a left and into the noisy but cheerful crowd in the cafeteria.
"I don't think they've noticed the storm yet," I said.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightning flashed in the sky, lighting it up and plunging the school into darkness. Screams rang in every corner of the cafeteria just as the principle rushed in, panting to catch his breath.
"Calm down everyone, please calm down!" Mr. Bryer bellowed over the screams and shouts. The screams soon died away to quiet whispers. "The storm has hit our power storage, so we are temporarily in the dark, as you can see right now. Classes will continue like any normal day. We will have the generator running in a few minutes. So, carry on."
There were groans of disappointment that echoed around the cafeteria. I picked up my fork and started on my salad as the lights flickered on, with a groaning sound in the background, the generator. I stuffed the salad in to my mouth and quietly tried to finish it.
"We get a black out and we're still not allowed to go home! This is so unfair!" Sierra cried out madly.
"It is a little unfair, but the school does have a generator," I informed her.
"Whatever," Sierra stuffed her face with some salad, too. "I still think we should go home." I quietly chuckled to myself at Sierra's face. It was all puffy looking with salad. Sierra has very nice facial features: high cheekbones, natural blonde straight hair that was cut just below her shoulders and the most beautiful grass green eyes I have ever seen.
"You can't always get what you want, you know," I told her.
"I know, but I wish I did." At least she got the looks.
Sierra and I quietly finished our lunch and put the trays back beside the front door just as the bell rang signalling the end of lunch. We quickly walked down the hall and to the right to get our books for our next period. Sierra and I both had functions then physics for our second last and last periods of the day. We both quickly opened our lockers and grabbed our books, and shut the locker as the rest of the student body rushed down the hall and hurried to get to their next classes. Sierra and I ran up the stairs and into the top floor hall and walked into our math class, across from the stairs.
"Ms. Brown and Ms. Vance, thank you for coming early, as usual." A tired voice greeted us.
"No problem, Mr. Baker," I replied. Mr. Baker was the only functions teacher. He had dark brown hair with a few strands of gray at the sides, and the back of his head. His dark blue eyes gleamed behind his square-shaped glasses, which rested on the bridge of his sharp nose. He wore a blue and white plaid buttoned up shirt with sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and black pants. He was fixing a stack of papers on the side of his desk and started to write a very long equation with many difficult symbols and lots of variables.
"Whoa, do we have to solve all of that!" Sierra exclaimed.
"Not by yourselves, no, but with a partner," Mr. Baker informed her.
"I'm with Alex then."
"Let me explain when the rest of the class gets here."
The bell was going to ring very soon, we waited for class to start. The rest of the class started to arrive when the bell suddenly rang. When the class had filled up the classroom, Mr. Baker shushed them down.
"Today, we will be working on extensive equations. Please pick a partner and simplify the problem. Then, when you are finished with the problem, find another group to compare your answers. This is everything you had done so far in the unit, should be a walk in the park if you paid attention in class. Now get started?"
People started shifting chairs and partnering up with other students, most likely, their friends. Sierra and I were already partners but we needed to solve the equation. It was really easy because you had to put them in to the different equations and then add or subtract or divide or multiply it. We finished it up and waited for another group to finish, and then we will compare our answers. And guess who we got partnered up with? Kevin and one of his friends. Yippee, not. Everywhere I look, he is always there. I'm kind of getting freaked out. Anyway, while we were comparing our answers, Kevin made one small mistake at the end. When I pointed to the spot he had made his mistake, our hand touched for the briefest moment. I jerked my hand away, I strange fire coursing through my fingers. Kevin had a small smirk on his lips but quickly fixed his mistake and then the bell suddenly rang, thank goodness. The sound of shuffling books and papers filled the air occupied by the screeching of chairs and hurrying feet to their last class of the day.
I quickly grabbed my books and notes, and rushed out of the classroom. Fortunately, Mr. Baker did not assign us any homework or an assignment. My binder was big enough to hold two subjects, functions and physics. I love physics class because Mr. Walker always has cool techniques to make us like physics and understand it, too. Not many people like physics mainly because it intimidates them. Mr. Walker is the best teacher in the school. He is also Kevin's father, if you didn't notice. Kevin is just the spitting image of his father, and when I say spitting image, I mean they look exactly alike but Mr. Walker is older, of course.
Sierra and I walked down the hall to reach our last class of the day, physics. As I walked into the classroom, I could see that we were reviewing about electricity in natural environments.
Sierra and I decided to take a seat in the back row. Mr. Walker started to draw bolts of lightning and shaded clouds.
Sierra and I were sat near a window. I peered out of the window just as Mr. Walker started talking about a project that was going to take up to fifteen percent of our final grade. I zoned out and tried to get some peaceful time. The nightmare I had last night did not let me have much shut eye. The storm was clearing up now but it was still raining extremely hard. I suddenly looked at Mr. Walker just as he said my name.
"Pardon?" I asked.
"I said I am partnering you with Kevin for the project that will be due in two weeks," he answered.
"Oh," I didn't know what else to say. I looked over at Kevin who was sitting a few seats to the left. Kevin had a strange expression on his face. It looked like he had just thought up of a brilliant plan or idea. I could just imagine a light bulb blink into light. Maybe he got an idea for the science project we were assigned to. Mr. Walker then finished partnering other people.
"Your project needs to be related to electricity in the environment or how it may affect the world," Mr. Walker explained. "Such as lightning and thunder; and also electricity consumptions., even different ways of get our electricity around communities. Be creative and have fun. You can now spend the rest of the class to think of ideas and plan."
The classroom suddenly broke out in to shuffling books, scraping chairs, and people chattering, but not about their projects. I turned my head to the left to talk to Sierra but she had left and was sitting beside her partner, who seemed to be having a good time. Then I saw Kevin walking towards me with his binder and pen ready to be used in his hand.
"Hi," I greeted him.
"Hey," he replied.
"So . . . , what do you think our project should be about?" I asked, hoping he would choose because I was very bad at making decisions.
"I was thinking, if you don't mind, we could do something with lightning, like explain how it works and stuff."
"Um, sure," I answered. "So what should we do? Make a diagram or presentation?"
"I was thinking we could do a diagram," he explained, looking very relieved. "We could photograph a few pictures of lightning and what can cause it."
"So, it's like a presentation and diagram combined?"
Very soon, we started planning our project and during our planning, I noticed a few other characteristics and physical features I did not notice before. Kevin had lean muscles, around his neck which was the only skin he was showing, but they where round and built and he also had a few whiskers on his chin. He also seemed very polite and courteous but how was I to know that this was not an act. He could be a pig like most of the guys I have met or a really nice guy. Kevin also kept glancing up from the paper he was writing on to look at me when I wasn't looking, but I caught him in the act. He was also trying to write something on a piece of paper very messily.
Suddenly, the speaker over the door crackled to life.
"Hi Mr. Walker, can Alexandria Vance come down to the main office? She's getting a ride from her mother today. She's saying it's an emergency. Something about her father." It was a female voice, and when I heard her talk about my father, my blood turned cold.
"Yes, she will be down very soon," Mr. Walker answered. "Alex you may leave now and everyone else back to your work. Kevin, I need to talk to you for a minute."
I quickly gathered my books and said an absent-minded goodbye to Kevin before I ran to my locker and grabbed my backpack. I swung it over my shoulder and grabbed my jacket before I closed my locker. I ran as fast as I could to the main office.
My father was in the Canadian Air Force and I was afraid the lightening from the storm must have struck his propeller or something. The storm did seem a little sudden. Besides, he shouldn't even be out flying in this weather; he should've known it was dangerous. Something really important must have made him take this risk. Maybe I was just overthinking it, but I couldn't help but worry.
I turned the last corner and stopped to see my mom pacing back and forth. When she caught sight of me, she grabbed my hand and ran out the door. The rain hit us hard but my mom ignored it like it was cotton balls instead of rain drops and hailstones. My heart was pounding in my rib cage.
My mom unlocked my dad's black SUV and jumped in. I ran to the passenger side and climbed in too. My mom's car was at the repair shop. It was damaged by another hail storm. My jeans, shirt, and hair were soaking wet, my mom's rain jacket was dripping. I never got the time to put on my jacket and I was freezing. Today was a wet, cold October afternoon.
"Your father is hurt." Those were the only words that came out of her mouth on the drive to the local hospital. Luke was quietly talking to himself in his car seat behind me. I nervously started to play with the plain silver necklace shaped, ironically, like a lightning bolt. My father had given it to me after my first week with a new family. I never did take it off except, ever. I was too afraid of ever losing it.
After a few minutes, a building started to emerge from the horizon. I quickly recognized it as the Cold Lake General hospital. My mother quickly parked the car close to the hospital and she quickly jumped out. I followed and ran after her as she ran to the hospital emergency doors with Luke in her arms.
I was always a very patient girl since I was little, but I was running out of my patience. Rick, my father, was in the operation room for a long time, almost five hours. My mother, Julia the worrier she is and always will be, was pacing back and forth looking up at the clock over the operation doors or glancing at the doors itself. The waiting room was painted white with white doors and a white desk. Behind the white desk was a woman who was wearing a white blouse and pants including white shoes! I was just glad she didn't dye her hair white, it was black.
The lady at the front desk didn't tell us what happened, so we were waiting for the surgeon to walk out and tell us the story.
"Mommy, I'm hungry." Luke walked quietly to mom and somehow stopped her from her pacing. He was playing with the contents of my backpack before. I just hoped he didn't rip up anything important.
"Alex, please get a snack from one of those vending machines."
"Sure," I said, glad to have something to do.
I grabbed Luke by his little hand and walked him over to a vending machine with bags of chips. Luke picked a bag of Sun Chips and I started to rummage in my pocket for some coins. I found enough coins and punched in the number. Just when I was about to open up the flap to grab the bag, I heard the doors of the operation room open. I opened the bag for Luke and I started walking down the corridor. Then, I saw a man dressed in a blue surgical suit come out of the doors. The man started to talk to my mom and soon, she started crying, huge tears rolling down her cheeks and on to the white tiled floor.
"Mom, what's wrong?" I asked, already knowing the answer. My mom didn't say anything, just shook her head and started crying on my shoulder.
I had my mouth hanging open in disbelief. He couldn't be gone so soon, not yet. I wasn't ready for him to leave so soon. I looked up at the surgeon and saw that his head was bent down.
"We tried everything we could," he explained, talking to the floor. He should be brave enough to look me in the eyes and explain. "Third degree burns, concussion, many broken bones, and internal bleeding in the head. He is what we call brain dead. There was just too much and it was not enough. I am very sorry."
I looked away from him and outside the window. The rain was just falling harder and heavier. The lightening was brighter and the thunder was louder. I was dumbstruck; I couldn't even cry. This couldn't be happening. I tried to pull myself together, Dad always told me to not become so emotional like other girls but I couldn't help it. I could feel a chasm ripping a hole in my heart.
I woke up sweaty and struggling to catch my breath. It must have all been a dream. Kevin, Brenda, the storm, and Dad. I listened carefully to the silent night. No, it was not a dream, it really happened. He's gone forever.
After the visit to the hospital; we made plans for the funeral. I drove Luke, mom, and myself home. Mom was definitely not in shape to drive all the way back home.
I saw Mr. Brown, Sierra's dad and my Dad's friend, walk down the hall at home, and then he started running when he saw us. He was in camouflage pants and shirt with black boots.
"I am so sorry," he said. "He said he needed to go somewhere and wouldn't tell me. We tried to stop him, but he wouldn't listen. We found him in a dense forest south of the base after a 911 call by a farmer close by. We don't know anything else. We're still trying to figure out what happened."
It was too much to see dad's best friend trying to comfort her. He kind of reminded me of my dad with his uniform.
The rain and wind blew hard on my face. It is raining again but this time it is freezing rain. Winter is only a few weeks away. The temperature has gone down to zero degrees; it won't be long before it starts to snow. The trees behind my backyard are really a small forest that runs right behind the school. The trees above my head give me a bit of protection from the cold rain drops.
The forest is quiet except sound of the rain on the treetops and my jacket. Then the sound of a branch breaking stops me in my tracks.
"Who's there?" My voice sounds hushed. Fear grips me with its cold hands until I hear a familiar voice reply.
"It's just me." Kevin slowly emerges out from a clump of trees.
"Why were you following me?" I ask; suspicion rising in me mixed with plenty of confusion.
"I wasn't following you. I like to walk to school through this forest when it rains."
"So you were following me?"
"No, this is merely just a coincidence," He argues, playing stubborn.
I turn my back to him and start to walk much faster than before. I hear Kevin's footsteps behind me and then he is walking beside me. He opens his mouth then closes it, not knowing what to say.
"I'm really not in the mood for talking, Kevin." I tell him. "I just have a lot to think about."
"Yeah I understand." He says trying to sound like he did, but he doesn't.
"No, you don't. You do not know what it feels like to have someone you love pulled away from you so quickly." Tears were finally starting to well in my eyes. "And then having to be the strong one, and having to explain to your three year old brother that he is never going to come back, never." I practically scream the last word at him. The tears finally come and with it come sobbing and my annoying runny nose.
Kevin pulls me in to his chest and cages me with his strong arms. Even though I struggle, he holds on. He is very warm and I am wondering how he can be so warm with only a thin rain jacket on. When I give up against the struggle, I let my head rest on his shoulder and place my hands on his broad chest, listening quietly to his heart. I'm not sure how long we were standing there but it was a while before he let go when he knew I was done. I mumble a quiet thank you and am on my way, but I don't get far before Kevin is back at my side. I quickly wipe my nose.
"We don't have to talk, we'll just walk," he says. I am glad he won't talk because I'm afraid I might break down again.
Our walk to school is quiet. We say absolutely nothing to each other until the bell rings signalling the beginning of the school day. I bolt for my locker and met up with Sierra who keeps asking me if I am okay. Of course I'm not but I nod and tell her, and everyone else, that I'm fine.
The school is small and so is this town, so news gets around like wildfire. I am getting really annoyed with all these people asking me if I am feeling well. The attention is getting very bothersome, I'm socially awkward. I need to get away from them. So I volunteer to go to the gym and put up the preparations for the dance tonight. I forgot the theme, but I know I am not going. High school dances are wilder than elementary dances. Kevin and Sierra decide to volunteer as well, how lucky am I. Not very. I was hoping they would have something else to do.
We are supposed to go down to the gym after school and start putting up all the decorations, but most of the girls just stay in the bathroom talking until we're done setting up the gym.
The art teacher describes to us what he wants for his "vision", as he called it. I was upon one ladder and Kevin is my spotter, holding the ladder. We are sticking up a banner for the Annual Winter school dance. I shift from my left foot to my right foot as we wait for someone to get more tap, we ran out. The ladder steps are small and thin and I am hoping that it will not break; small budget school. But it does. I hear a faint crack which bounces off the gym walls and back at me very quietly. Surprisingly, everyone hears it. They are all waiting for something to happen and so am I. I start to descend but the step I am standing on gives way and I fall. I do not scream but a gasp manages to escape my lips. Then I feel something I wasn't expecting. I feel a strong pair of arms, Kevin's arms; I almost forgot he's there. I look up at his face and see his lopsided smile, very small but it's there. His eyes are full of concern. He carefully lets me down and I watch as everyone crowds around me and Kevin makes his way out of the gym.
I tell the others I should go to the nurse's office. Before I walk outside, I catch strange look from Sierra. I am not going to the nurse's office. I am done with them after I found out that no one could save my dad. I spot Kevin leaning against a wall. I can see his breath as he exhales. I just wish it would be a little warmer; the rain had cleared up during lunch. And just as I finish the thought in my head, a warm breeze sweeps through the school grounds.
"Are you okay?" My voice is feeble but despite the warm breeze, I can see my breath in front of my face.
He looks up at me and gazes deep into my eyes. His gaze is so intense that I look away and lean on the wall next to him, but still keeping my distance. I can still feel his eyes on me.
"I'm fine, but the real question is are you okay?" His eyes are still on me.
"You know, I've gotten really tired of people asking me that," I try to lighten up the mood with this light joke.
"Yeah, I know, but I never got a chance to ask you."
I watch a little smile play at the corner of Kevin's lips. That little smile caught me completely off guard.
"What's so funny?" I say as a smile plays at my lips as well. I can't help it. His lopsided smile is unbelievably contagious.
"Nothing, it's just . . ." He looks away from my face but I can see that his smile has been replaced with a scowl.
"You're going to think that I'm crazy," I thought he was joking but when I note his serious voice and see that small sad smile on his face, I realize that he is about to tell me something I am not expecting. "You're not normal and when I say that I mean that you're much more different than everyone else around you. You've got these…abilities that ordinary humans don't. You've reached your hidden potential that lots of scientists have been wondering about for a long time."
"What are you talking about?" I don't want to hear anything else that manages to sneak through those lips but I listen intently, hooked on every word.