Chapter Four, Powers and the Past

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Bennie crept into her house quietly later that night. Her mom stirred slightly in her room, as if her sleep was restless, so Bennie left the hall light on to assure Sandra she was home before washing her hands in the restroom. They burned slightly after her first lessons on training the fire and lighting to go in the right direction. Once, before Perce decided to put up more protective wards, Sean turned into a gargoyle, grabbed Gemini and flown them out of the way. He seemed to enjoy it very much when Gem, as they called her, thanked him for the heroics but protested she could move herself easily enough.

A floorboard creaked under Bennie's foot and she winced at how loud it was. That would surely wake her mom up.

But then she realized she did not remember that floorboard creaking before, not noticeably anyway. She took another step toward her room.

Once again, the sound seemed keener.

I guess it's only natural for my hearing to be sharper, like my eyes in the dark, now I'm changed, Bennie thought.

She wondered if she was going to be able to get used to this. Something made her uncomfortable: a feeling she was going in over her head. But could she refuse? Could she say no to what she was? Could she deny the fact she was no longer just Bennie James?

No, she supposed she could not. But did that mean she had to use the powers she had? Maybe her mom was right.

If my father did, then I should too. I just hope I'm right.

Bennie paced restlessly until dawn. Even if she needed sleep, she could not have slept if she wanted to.

***

"You alright Bennie?" Bennie's friend Sarah came to sit by her as she ate after practice several days later. "You seem, preoccupied. I notice you kept looking at your hands out there on the field. Did you accidentally pull up poison oak in the back yard again?"

Bennie chewed her apple hard. Since her training had begun, it had become harder to push the power back down. The strange stinging, combined with trying not to set the field on fire when she stopped a goal, normally would have distracted her badly.

But then, Bennie was not normal anymore. She did not enjoy having something like that to hide.

"Just, the new lotion I tried makes my hands feel funny," Bennie lied.

"Can I see?" Sarah asked. She was always trying to figure out strange things like these. Bennie had no choice but to humor her. She held her hand out to Sarah.

"Just feels like skin, so it must be your imagination," Sarah said, "What lotion did you use?"

"Uh," Bennie thought fast. "A--sample that came in the mail. Don't remember the name."

"Oh, those can be really cool sometimes, but I once got one and it smelled awful!"

Bennie nodded absently. She hated lying, especially to her friends. It never got her anywhere but stressed.

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