Cree and Reese go on a vacation to Chicago to visit their friend Jenny.
“Are we almost there?” Reese asked, jostling me awake from my sleep.
Groggy and annoyed by his boyish behavior, I said, “I don’t care where we are.”
“Come on, Cree, wake up.”
I lifted my head and looked out the window. “I think we’re there.”
“I just hope Jenny’s here already,” Reese said, looking over my head. “I hate waiting.”
“And hate hearing you complain.”
“Last stop, Chicago, Illinois,” the driver shouted over his microphone.
Reese howled out a loud hurrah, sending my ears ringing. With his outlandish behavior, topped with the smell of gasoline and the incoherent chatter of the other passengers, even I would be relieved to be off this bus.
When we finally pulled into the depot, I was the one secretly nominated to carry both our suitcases. I felt like a porter as I watched Reese fly off the bus with nothing but a piece of paper.
“Well, could it be a letter?”
“Very funny, Reese?” I mean, who’s it from?”
“Just Jenny pledging her undying love for me.”
“Don’t listen to him Cree. Your boyfriend can be full of himself.”
“Jenny,” I shouted, turning to see her just behind us. I set the bags down. Mine, the heavier one landed on Reese foot. We embraced, squealing out our hellos while Reese howled in pain. Jenny and I both laughed at Reese.
“Hey, that’s not funny.”
Still laughing, I said, “Oh, yes it is, and that’s payback, mister.”
“For what?” he asked, still nursing his foot.
“For not being a gentleman,” Jenny said, let out a giggle. “Shame on you for making Cree carry your bag.” Pointing at him, “You should be carrying hers.”
“Okay, okay,” Reese said, picking up both suitcases. “Girls!” he fumed.
We walked out of the depot talking about our days at the Drell Institute. Reese and I had become best friends with Jenny. We were known as the three musketeers. Although it had only been a few months since Jenny moved to Chicago with her father, I was amazed at how much she had changed.
“So what’s with the make-over?” I asked her.
“I’m in disguise. Dad says we can’t be conspicuous. The big city isn’t the best place to be a blue-faced teenager. It would too weird.”
“Why not? There’s nothing weird about that.”
“Sure, Reese,” Jenny said, “whatever you say.”
Suddenly a gang of boys approached us. “Hey, demon girl, what’s with the disguise?”
“Sorry, Freddie,” Jenny said, stepping up to him, “but you’ll have to find somebody else to play with.”
“You can’t turn us down, freak. When we want something, we get it.”
“Wanna say that to me?” Reese said, stepping in front of Jenny. “Take me on and leave the girls alone.”
“No deal. It’s me and the demon.”
Suddenly, Jenny shed her disguise, showing her true form. With the presence of her bluish pigments and razor-sharp claws, she lunged at Freddie, slamming him against a brick wall.
“Haven’t you learned, Feddie? Violence doesn’t solve anything.”
She walked away from him, but he sneaked up on her toppling her to the ground. Reese and I would have helped her, but the rest of gang surrounded us.
“So,” I shouted to Reese, “I thought this was supposed to be a nice boring vacation.”
“Not for us, Cree,” he said, forcing his way through the wall the gang boys created with their bodies, but they tugged him back before he could make any leeway.
An idea popped into my head. I dropped to the ground, placing my hands on the cement. I remembered that the first thing we learned at the Drell Institute was focus. Using my special gift of matter transformation, I concentrated on the ground around me. Suddenly, it started to moisten, sending the gang boys under.
“Help us,” one of them shouted.
In the tiny circle of liquid cement that was more like quicksand, Reese looked at me and said, “We can’t kill them, Cree. You’ve got to stop them from sinking.”
“All right. Give me a second.”
I concentrated further, putting my hands on the wet cement. Suddenly it started to dry, fusing the gang boys into the ground.
As I looked up, I saw that Jenny was still fighting Freddie.
“Haven’t you learned, Freddie? It’s not nice to beat up on girls, because we beat back,” she said, raising him up and throwing him in the center of his trapped friends. “I don’t join gangs. Understand?”
“Pathetic,” Reese said with a laugh. “So what do you do for fun around here?”
We walked down the streets of Chicago, showing our true selves. A few people stared, but we didn’t care. We were used to it. Even though we were born with special talents, Reese and I had always had been able to blend in with normal population, but Jenny was forced to wear disguises when mingling with normals.
As we turned down the street leading to her home, I wondered what other surprises we would discover calling on Jenny.
Also On Triond