I drummed my fingers on the kitchen counter as I watched Elizabeth stir in some type of spice into her latest health food recipe. "I swear that isn't edible. It shouldn't be legal. What type of food is gray anyway?"
"Hush, and pass me the wooden spoon. This soup has to be perfect for the dinner tonight," my godmother said, passing a hand by her ear to tuck her honey colored curls back from her face. She stirred the soup with satisfaction, seeming to just be stirring it now for pleasure rather than anything else.
I groaned at the mention of the dinner. My cousins were coming over for the bimonthly family dinner. Not like we were much of a family. My parents had died in a warehouse fire in Louisiana before I could remember them, and my aunt and uncle had died in a car crash. My cousins, Bradley and Haddan, were both taken in by separate foster homes. Every two months, my godmother hosted a family dinner of sorts to somewhat keep the shreds of our family together. The problem was I didn't particularly like my cousins. I figured they just liked making my life miserable. But I would have to behave this one night out of the rest. All the other days when we were in school together were fair game as we all attended the public high school.
"Katima, can you get the door?" Elizabeth asked, jolting me from my thoughts. The door bell had rung at some point, I supposed.
I walked out of the kitchen, rubbing a hand over my face. I sighed. It was only one night. There was a limit to how much bad stuff could happen in one night, right? Opening the door, I found myself face to face with the eldest of the pair - Bradley. He was taller than me and built for swimming. He gave me an amused crooked smile, his blue eyes glinting mischievously. "Hiya, cuz."
"Hi, Bradley," I mumbled, stepping back to let him in. "Is Haddan late?"
"Isn't he always?" Bradley chuckled, moving into the foyer. "So have you done anything dark and dangerous lately?" he asked softly, leaning closer to me.
I smacked his arm sharply. "Hey! Don't you dare mention what happened in biology Friday."
"Never, never." He faked being sincere. "Blowing up that frog in Mr. Litten's face...priceless."
"I didn't...blow it up..." I said slowly.
"Oh, no, you just stared at it angrily while he was leaning over it. And then it exploded."
I frowned and crossed my arms over my chest. "Then if I can really blow things up, you might want to watch your back. You could be next."
He just grinned and turned around to greet Elizabeth who had just appeared in the kitchen doorway. While they said hello and talked about grades, I looked back out the door. Haddan would be here soon, and then they could gang up on me. As long as they didn't bring up the frog dissection story to Elizabeth, I would be fine. It wasn't the first time something strange had happened. Once in sixth grade, a teacher had given me a 'C' for not including my name on the top of the paper when I could have gotten a high 'B'. The paper caught fire as soon as I got on the bus and I quickly stamped it out before anyone could notice.
In truth, I doubted Elizabeth would be surprised by the news of these strange happenings. I had heard somewhat comical horror stories of when I was younger many times. I just didn't need her worrying that it had happened again after so long...or so she thought. I wasn't sure how any of it was possible, but those things did happen. That's what led me slowly to come to the realization that something had to be wrong with me.
"Knock, knock?" Haddan asked, having opened the screen door and mimed knocking on the air as the door. "Daydreaming, princess?"
I shrugged. "Wouldn't be the first time. Hungry?" I asked, looking up at him and his freckles.
"Starving. What are we having?" he asked, stepping inside and closing the door behind him.
"Oh, is the key ingredient frog?"
"Don't even start with me." I followed him to the kitchen where we found Bradley pouring lemonade for everyone. I didn't think it was possible for him to be helpful.
"Liz!" Haddan said gleefully, hugging my godmother tightly.
She laughed. "Glad we all could make it. I hope you guys like clam chowder."
"That. Is supposed to be clam chowder?" I asked. I had watched her make it all day, and I was pretty sure I hadn't seen the ingredients clam or chowder present.
She laughed. "Just sit down and eat."
I did as I was told, sitting down next to Bradley with Haddan across from me. Propping my chin up on my hand, I absently brushed my fingertips over the outside of my glass, droplets of perspiration from the glass clinging to my skin when I drew my hand away. What if the lemonade could blow up too? I found myself thinking of things I could do with lemonade much like the frog on Friday. It bubbled slightly and Bradley clapped his hand over the top of the glass both to make me stop and to keep Elizabeth from seeing. Haddan raised an eyebrow suspiciously.
Elizabeth turned around with a bowl of soup, prompting Bradley to quickly move his hand so she didn't suspect anything. She set the bowl in front of Haddan before returning to the stove to get Bradley his soup. "Anything interesting happen at school lately?"
"No," the boys said together.
She raised an eyebrow, a ladle in one hand and a bowl of steaming hot gray chowder in the other. "Hmm?"
"Nothing," I said quickly. "We dissected frogs on Friday."
Bradley glanced at me while Elizabeth turned back around for more soup. I shrugged. "Yeah,” he said. “Mr. Litten supposedly let Haddan chop the brain up."
Elizabeth frowned. "That's rather...nasty. How did that go, Haddan? Or should I not be asking if I want to enjoy my dinner?"
Haddan laughed, draping one arm over the back of his chair. "No, it was fine. But, I heard Katima had more fun than me."
I glared at him as Elizabeth placed my soup in front of me. "Yeah, well, I sawed off a leg," I lied, picking up my spoon and prodding the lumpy soup for some type of distraction.
"No, aren't you forgetting...the explosion?" Haddan said.
The kitchen fell silent as I stared at my soup and Elizabeth stared at me. Then it broke horribly. "You said it wouldn't happen again!" She was furious, but I could tell she was also worried.
"I didn't mean to! What, am I supposed to be able to control it?" I was glaring at her now, pointing my spoon at her, a little bit of chowder clinging to the end of it. "You've never told me why I can do all this crazy stuff."
"You don't need to know! You need to be norm-"
She didn't get to finish her statement. I had jumped to my feet at the same instant that the sound of shattering glass reached our ears.