Chapter Seven, Picturing Progress

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Bennie would have given anything for a thunder storm the next day at soccer practice. It hadn't rained since the day she became a Guardian, and the Texas summer heat drove her mad, the one thing she never liked about her hometown. On the field the parched, yellow grass had taken up its bristly, burry feel under her hands, elbows, and knees again as she manned the goal net.

The sense enhancing potion she had taken that morning was doing more harm than good with the way it increased the heat of the sun on her bare arms and legs, and her mind kept wandering to the shade of the live oaks she knew were on the other side of the fence.

Maybe Aila has another type of potion that'll help me with heat tolerance.

"HEADS UP, BENNIE!" Bennie barely had time to get her mind back on the game before seizing a soccer ball that nearly passed her into the goal.

Focus! Bennie berated herself as she heard Julia Hernandez, the owner of the voice that had called her, mutter something teasing in Spanish before placing up for the serve. Bennie grinned despite herself. Julia was one of Bennie's oldest friendly soccer rivals and loved to pretend she was insulting Bennie in Spanish when she wasn't paying attention even though Bennie knew a decent bit of Spanish herself after growing up in the bilingual city and visiting her old Great Grandpa Garza, before he passed away.

Bennie didn't have time to listen to what Julia was saying before she suddenly felt uncontrollably dizzy and hot. She bolted from the goal post towards a secluded end of the field to be sick. Her limbs started shaking and she suddenly realized she had long since stopped sweating, and started drying up in the sun. How did she get dehydrated so fast?

It's the heat, I can't handle it with these potions making me more sensitive to it, Bennie thought as several hands patted her on the back and handed her a bottle of water. But I can't play without them, I'm dependent on them to alert me to my surroundings enough to pass as seeing! How am I supposed to play soccer if I can't be outside for even half an hour?

The questions pounded in her throbbing head as she relaxed under a ceiling fan in her living room while her younger cousin Timmy tried to cheer her up with his newest sketches. It only made things worse since the heat stroke had left her heightened senses exhausted and useless even with the enhancers still in her system.

"See," Timmy said, unaware of Bennie's predicament, "I'm going into plain pencil now, but the page looks all dirty because I smudge so badly. Last year Mrs. Clint at school said it's because I'm left handed and I should start on the right side of the page, but I can't help starting in the middle."

"Mmmm, good point," Bennie said, praying silently that Timmy wouldn't require specific observations from her at this point in time.

"Do you think this one looks a bit phony, though?" He stuck a blur in front of her. Bennie sighed, just her luck.

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