Category: Supernatural Powers

Knowing the Future Doesn’t Help

Many years in the past, well before the internet, a kindergarten teacher looked at the row of tiny people sitting on carpet squares. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Everyone started talking at once. Then they each started talking louder in an attempt to be heard. The teacher started clapping out a rhythm. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap. The students quieted down and joined in the last clap-clap-clap.

“One at a time. We’ll start at this side of the room.”

“I want to be a baseball player.”

“…a doctor.”

“…an artist.”

“…a monkey.”

“…a blogger.”

The teacher paused. “A what?”

Cassandra shrugged. “It’s like a writer, but it will be on the computer, when the computers are all connected.”

Everyone looked at her blankly. “That sounds nice,” the teacher said at last, and the class moved on.

Later, on the playground, a small group of children cornered Cassandra by the slide. “You think the computers will all be connected and take over the world? You’re going to help them?” One of the children said, smirking.

“That won’t happen. You don’t know anything about computers.” Another child said. “Stop pretending to be smart. You don’t know anything.”

Cassandra straightened her shoulders. “I know you are going to go to college, but you’re going to spend the rest of your life paying for it.” She turned to the other child. “You’re going to need braces and glasses by middle school.”

The children shrieked in anger and raced forward together to push her in the mud. When the teacher with recess duty approached, the children ran away. Cassandra stood up with a sigh.

“Do you need to go in and change?” The teacher made a face at the mud.

“I can wait until the end of recess. They’re just going to push me in the mud again soon.”

The teacher patted her shoulder. “You don’t know that. Try to be more positive.”

Cassandra shrugged. “I’m positive they’ll shove me in the mud, as soon as you leave to deal with the kids fighting over the shorter swing.”

“What kids?” Just then, sounds of shouting and crying came from the swing set. The teacher sighed and patted Cassandra’s shoulder again. “I’ll be right back,” she said.

Moments later, Cassandra was shoved back into the mud.

She went inside to change, knowing the teacher wasn’t going to come back. Someone was going to find a dead bird by the fence and cause a commotion that would last for the rest of recess. Cassandra changed and waited quietly by the doors for recess to be over.

At lunch, she warned Jimmy that he wouldn’t like the mashed potatoes. He took a big bite anyways and then spit it all over the table. During painting, she moved her paints and warned Sara to wave her arms less as she talked. Sara still waved her arms and ended up with paint all over her sleeve. At reading time, Cassandra told Mike to be careful walking to his carpet square, and he still tripped and hit his head on his desk.

When the children were lining up to go home, Cassandra paused and tugged on Amy’s sleeve. “It’s going to rain later, and you forgot your coat.”

Amy frowned. “No I didn’t. I always put it in my backpack.” Then she turned around to talk to someone else.

Cassandra sighed and continued to the back of the line. She could see the future clearly. Someday, all of this would be part of a blog post that no one would believe. No one ever did believe her, of course. She was used to it by now.

Wrong Town

It was high noon. The two men faced each other from opposite ends of the long, dusty main road of the little makeshift town. Inside the buildings, the townspeople hid, watching from the edges of the windows and waiting for the outcome of the showdown.

Sheriff Bob narrowed his eyes. “I don’t think this is the right town for you,” he said at last.

Scott rolled his shoulders back and raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t that for me to decide? I think I like it here.”

“And I think you need to find another place you like better. We don’t need your kind of trouble.” Bob’s hand hovered over his holstered gun.

“Everybody needs a little trouble.” Scott smirked and his hand darted to the handle of his pistol.

Bob grabbed his own gun and just as the guns were pointed at each other, there was a bang and a bright light and both men were thrown onto their backs in the dust a good distance away. They lay there blinking up at the sky as a tall pink rabbit dusted off her fur and looked around with a scrunched up nose.

“Am I dead yet?” Scott asked. “I didn’t think it hurt to be dead.”

“I still haven’t figured out where you shot me,” Bob said. He slowly patted down his arms.

“I didn’t shoot yet.”

“Me either.”

They sat up, only to face an annoyed pink rabbit, who was tapping a furry paw and scowling. Scott frantically started patting the dust around him, looking for his gun, but it had landed far away. Sheriff Bob kept blinking and rubbing his eyes.

“Where are all the flowers?” the rabbit asked.

“What flowers?” Sheriff Bob pinched his arm and winced. “There haven’t ever been flowers here this time of year. You need to come back in the spring to see flowers.”

Scott finally located his pistol and dove for it. Unfortunately, it had broken into pieces. Scott wailed as he tried to fit the pieces together and it became obvious it was unfixable. “My gun! What happened to my gun?”

Hearing this, Sheriff Bob ignored the rabbit and looked around for his own gun. He was relieved to find it nearby and in one piece. He hastily crawled over to retrieve it. Then he sat back on his heels with a groan.

“Your energy is low because of the lack of flowers. I don’t know who came and drained the color and life and flowers and glitter and rainbows from this town, but I promise you that I will bring them back, or my name isn’t Princess Isabella Longhair of the Fluffy Paws!” The rabbit raised a glowing paw in the air.

Scott dropped the worthless pieces of metal on the ground and backed away. “What…?”

The rabbit pointed her paw at the general store. In a burst of light, the previously sun-bleached storefront gleamed in a rainbow of colors, as though it had been made from some strange sort of neon mother of pearl. Vines burst from the ground and wrapped themselves around the edges of the boards. Brightly colored daisies the size of dinner plates bloomed in unison.

The bunny turned towards the saloon behind Scott. Eyes wide, Scott scrambled out of the way and hid behind Sheriff Bob. “What are you doing?” Bob hissed.

“Aren’t you the sheriff? Shouldn’t you be protecting the town or something? Shoot it!” Scott hissed back.

The bunny turned to look at him with narrowed eyes. Scott backed up a few steps. “Run!” he shouted.

They ran and hid in the sheriffs office. When all the townspeople finally felt safe enough to emerge from their hiding places hours later, the rabbit was gone. The town was now covered in color and flowers and glitter and rainbows. “I guess her name really was Princess Isabella Longhair of the Fluffy Paws,” the sheriff muttered.

“I guess you were right, sheriff,” Scott said, as he looked around with a grimace of disgust.

“About what?”

“This is not the right town for me. I’m leaving.” Scott took a step and then paused and looked back. “But before I go, could I ask a favor?”

Sheriff Bob folded his arms across his chest and raised an eyebrow.

Scott smiled sheepishly. “Could I borrow a gun?”

Flashback Friday: Super Strong

This story was originally posted on October 28, 2017. I think problems seem smaller when I can find a way to help someone.

“I can be anything I want to be, right?” Alex asked one night at dinner.

“Of course you can,” Dad said. He paused. “But you probably shouldn’t choose to be a veterinarian. Or a doctor. That might not go well.”

Alex frowned. He clutched his fork a little too tight. It broke in half and the metal pieces landed on his plate and cracked it. Alex burst into tears.

“It’s all right, honey,” Mom said. “There are still lots of things you can do.”

“Like what?” Alex asked. He sniffled and blew his nose on his thick canvas napkin. It tore down the center.

Mom handed him a new fork. “Well, um, you could be a newscaster,” she said. “Or a writer.”

“That’s right,” Dad said. “They have those programs now where you can dictate everything and you don’t have to type or hold a pencil.”

Alex frowned. “I just want to be like all the normal kids. You know, do the craft projects for the holidays. Play sports after school.   Write down my own answers on assignments.”

Dad sighed. “Life isn’t fair sometimes, huh?”

Alex nodded. “Yeah.”

“You’re not the only kid at school who can’t do all the normal things though, right?” Mom asked.

“One kid has to keep his eyes closed all the time, because he has laser eyes. And this one girl can’t talk at all because her voice shatters glass,” Alex said.

Mom smoothed Alex’s hair. “You see? It’s not just you.”

“It’s still not fair.” Alex picked up his new fork and speared some lettuce. The tines curled under.

“Maybe you can find a way to use your talents to help other people,” Dad said.

“Like what?” Alex asked. He ate the lettuce and bent the fork’s tines back into place.

“Well, you could read to that boy with the laser eyes,” Dad said.

Alex frowned. “But I’m not supposed to touch the books. The pages keep ripping when I turn them.” He speared another bite of lettuce and the tines curled under again.

“But he can pick up the books, right?” Mom asked.

Alex nodded. “There’s nothing wrong with his hands.”

“Then maybe you can help each other,” Mom said.   “I’ll bet there are a lot of stories you both want to hear.”

“You’ll find more work-arounds for your problems if you can work with other people,” Dad said.

“It would be nice to help people,” Alex said. “Do you really think I can?” He straightened the fork’s tines again.

“You’re the strongest person I know,” Dad said.   “I’ll bet there are lots of ways you can help people. All you need to do is look around and notice.”

“But what if I see a problem, and I can’t help?” Alex asked.

“Then you could try to find someone who can help,” Dad said.

“Okay,” Alex said.

“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Mom asked.

“A space pirate,” Alex said. “Do you think I can?”

“Maybe,” Dad said. “If you find the right crew.”

“You might need to invent a good spaceship first,” Mom said.

“I could do that,” Alex said. “At least I think I can.”

“Well, then you know where to start,” Dad said.   “Now who’s ready for lasagna?”

“Me!” Alex said. “Can I help?”

“Sure,” Dad said. “You can help me check to make sure it’s done. What do you think? Does it look good?”

“I think it looks great,” Alex said.

“Then it’s ready. Thanks for your help,” Dad said. Alex grinned.

An Abnormally Good Hair Day

The week before her appointment, Brooklynn told all her friends about the haircut. She told them that the hairstylist was probably partly magical and maybe a little sparkly. She said that the hair salon was only visible to humans on the day after a blue moon. And most importantly, the hairstylist promised her a haircut too beautiful to be seen.

On the day after the haircut, her friends all waited at the park where they usually met to walk to school together. “What do you think it will look like?” Carrie asked.

“Like her hair is shorter.” Jane rolled her eyes. “That’s all a hair cut does. It just makes your hair shorter.”

Susan giggled. “But will it look nice?”

“I would never let anyone cut my hair. Too many things could go wrong.” Bella tossed her long blond hair over her shoulder.

Jane snorted. “Hair grows. Even terrible haircuts aren’t terrible for long.”

Just then, Brooklynn came around the corner wearing a giant hat. The hat covered every strand of her hair and was securely fastened to her head by a wide ribbon tied in a bow under her chin. It was impossible to see her new haircut at all.

“Is it really that terrible?” Susan asked. “You can show us, we won’t laugh.”

“No, it’s actually too beautiful to be seen.” Brooklynn patted the side of her hat. “It’s really the loveliest haircut you’ve ever seen. If I took my hat off, the sun would be so shocked by the beauty of my haircut that it would forget to shine. I really can’t risk it.”

Bella twirled a strand of her long hair around one of her fingers. “That doesn’t even make sense. Haircuts don’t make your hair prettier really. They just change how long it is.”

“Nope. Haircuts can make your hair look a lot better.” Brooklynn pointed at her hat-covered hair. “Yesterday you could look at my hair, but today it’s too beautiful to be seen. In fact, my hair is so lovely now that it glows. If I took my hat off, you’d have to squint because that’s how brightly my hair shines.”

“Real hair doesn’t glow. Are you sure the hairstylist didn’t glue a wig on your head when you weren’t looking?” Carrie leaned forward and pointed at Brooklynn’s hat. “Or maybe you’re just making this all up, and you’re embarrassed to show us that your hair looks exactly the same as it did yesterday. I bet you didn’t get a haircut at all.”

Brooklynn clutched at the edges of her hat and laughed. “Of course I got a haircut. I’m not a liar. I’d show you, but it’s really too beautiful to be seen. If I took my hat off, the ground would shake because the earth would be moved by how beautiful my haircut is. I’m trying to keep you safe, because we’re friends. Even if you don’t believe me.”

“I think this can be easily resolved.” Jane folded her arms and sighed. “Just show us your haircut, Brooklynn. You can’t wear a hat in school, you know.”

“You can if you bring a note. My hairstylist wrote me one. Honestly, my hair is really too beautiful to be seen.”

“Then what’s the point?” Carrie asked. “If no one can see it, it might as well be too ugly to be seen.”

Brooklynn shrugged. “I feel beautiful. That’s good enough for me.”

Suddenly Bella darted forward and tugged at the bow holding Brooklynn’s hat in place. Brooklynn grabbed the edge of her hat, but she was a moment to late. Bella tugged the hat away and stepped back.

The sky went dark. The ground shook. Streetlights flickered on, but their light was pale compared to the glow coming from the top of Brooklynn’s head. It was like trying to look at the sun.

Brooklynn snatched her hat back and put it on her head. The ground stopped shaking and the sun was shining once more. “I told you,” Brooklynn said crossly as she tied the ribbon into a bow again. “My haircut is too beautiful to be seen.”

The other girls blinked.

Bella wiped the tears away. “How long does it take for a haircut to grow out?”

“Weeks.” Jane squinted at her watch. “We need to get going. We’re going to be late to school if we don’t leave now.”

Brooklynn led the way, and her friends followed after her, still blinking.

Little Magic

Maggie had been studying magic for two years, and had only learned three spells. All the other witches laughed at her when they remembered her at all. As most of them had already graduated and moved on to more specific studies, they didn’t remember her very often.

A new class of witches would start lessons in a few weeks, and the teachers had hinted, and then finally bluntly told her, adding diagrams and illustrations that floated in the air, that she would need to move out to make room for the new students. Maggie offered to commute or sleep on the floor and to stand at the back of every class so she didn’t take an extra chair. The teachers said that would just make everyone uncomfortable.

Maggie packed her suitcase and went home. Her broom still didn’t fly, so she strapped it onto her suitcase and started walking. It wasn’t long before a friendly-looking ladybug landed on her sleeve. Luckily, one of her three spells was a translation spell.

The teacher said that it shouldn’t work with animals, only human languages. They said that animal brains and animal languages are too different from human brains and languages. That didn’t make sense to Maggie. Language is an attempt to communicate, so it should be translatable.

Maybe it was her firm belief that it would work that made it possible. Or perhaps Maggie’s magic was just weird, just like all the other students said. In any case, she cast the spell, and could understand the ladybug.

“I’m thirsty and tired,” the ladybug said.

Maggie stopped and took out her map. She traced the road and calculated the distance. “At the rate I’m walking, I’ll reach the river in about an hour. If you’d like to come along, you’re welcome to stay right there.”

“That sounds nice.” The ladybug stretched its wings. “I’ll just take a little nap.”

Maggie kept walking. Somehow the sun seemed a little brighter and the breeze a little cooler. It was a beautiful day.

And then there was a crash of thunder, and dark clouds rolled in out of nowhere. Maggie whispered her second spell, and she was surrounded by an invisible bubble that kept out the rain. The spell wasn’t meant to be an umbrella, but it worked that way all the same. It was just in time, as the rain began to hammer at the outside of her bubble, making the sound of a hundred woodpeckers knocking on the roof at once.

The ladybug squealed in terror. “When I said I wanted water, I didn’t mean this much.”

“Of course not,” Maggie said. “According to my calculations, just two of these raindrops would be more than adequate.”

The ladybug crawled to her wrist. “Leave me here, on one of the trees. I can drink from one of the leaves. I think I like the look of this part of the forest.”

She chose a tree, and Maggie left her there. The ladybug told her a traditional ladybug luck charm. Maggie wasn’t sure that ladybug spells would work for her if witch spells didn’t, but she repeated the spell as she continued walking.

Moments later, she tripped over a turtle and ended up covered in mud. Sighing, Maggie cast a translation spell, and then used her third spell and cleaned off the mud. The turtle gasped.

He looked from side to side. “I can see! Whatever was covering my eyes is gone. Where am I?”

Maggie crouched down and looked at the turtle. “Are you lost? Where do you need to be?”

The turtle looked up. “I was at the river. And then everything was dark.”

Maggie smiled. “I’m going that way. I could take you there.”

“Thank you. The rain is missing you somehow, and I’d like to avoid it, and the mud too.”

Maggie picked up the turtle and kept walking. The turtle hummed a turtle walking song that didn’t have very many notes, but had lots and lots of rests. The rain cleared up just as they reached the river.

Maggie set the turtle on the bank by a big rock that he said looked familiar. She leaned against the big rock and ate lunch as the turtle taught her a little magic tune that would help her be calm even when things were difficult. Then she did some calculations using the position of the sun, the river, and the rock to help the turtle find his home.

She said goodbye, and whispered the ladybug’s luck charm as she left, hoping for good luck for both of them. She looked up, and saw a rainbow in the distance. She imagined it was right over her house. The rain eased up, and stopped by the time she crossed the bridge.

A wolf was waiting on the other side. She cast her translation spell and listened to his demands. Even though she knew humans didn’t believe he owned the woods, she negotiated a price to cross through them. The wolves believed they owned the woods, and Maggie didn’t see any evidence they were wrong.

In they end, they agreed she would give up seventy percent of her dinner, and spell the entire pack clean of mud and rainwater. Maggie’s teachers said the spell wasn’t meant to be used to dry things off, but if it cleaned off the water, then wasn’t that the same thing?

The wolves appeared out of the shadows and surrounded Maggie. She hummed the turtle song of calmness and stood tall and confident. When no more wolves appeared, she cast the spell and set most of her dinner on a fallen log.

The wolves parted to let her pass to get to the log. They watched her continue down the trail through the woods and didn’t follow her. The trail was muddy, and Maggie had to spell her boots clean often to get them unstuck when the mud was especially deep.

The wolf met her again at the end of the trail. Maggie whispered the ladybug charm and hummed the turtle song and kept walking. Just as she passed the wolf, he spoke.

“Why are you not riding your broom?”

“I can’t. I can’t make it fly.” Maggie frowned. “The spell just doesn’t work for me.”

The wolf looked at the broom. “It looks dead. Maybe your spells only work on living things. Cast the spell on yourself.”

Maggie cast the spell on herself, and she floated off the ground. “I’m flying!”

“Good.” The wolf nodded. “For my good advice, I’d like the remaining thirty percent of your food.”

Maggie gladly paid the fee and flew home. The rainbow led the way, disappearing just as her house was in view. Her mother was waiting in the doorway.

“Home already?” she asked.

“I learned that witches’ spells aren’t for me. I think I need to learn magic from the animals, instead.”

Decades later, Maggie’s magic school was attended by both animals and unusual humans. She was considered one of the most gifted witches in her generation. No one would have guessed that she discovered the secret to her success on the same day as her biggest failure. Maggie thought it might have all been due to ladybug luck. The turtle song and wolf advice might have helped, too.