My sister thinks our abilities had something to do with kicking a pebble into a wishing well, and that it was somehow all her fault. I mean, it’s cute and all, but I just don’t buy that explanation. It is like her to blame herself for anything bad that happens to us. Not that she’s ever been directly hurt by any of her accidents. She once fell three flights of stairs and only got a few bruises. Looked funny, though.
After the brief demonstration of our powers in the park, one thing became incredibly clear to me. We had to know more about our abilities. Kerry thought it best not to mess with them. Didn’t want to burn the house down. Or the town. Or the country. Angie, of course, was all for it.
We met at the Manor after school the day after we first got our powers. I suppose I should explain what I mean by the Manor. The Manor is sort of like our secret base. Our giant tree house. People think we call it the Manor because we still like to pretend. That’s because they haven’t been to the Manor, not because we don’t realize we’re too old for that sort of thing. The Manor is a big, old, abandoned plantation house hidden away deep in the woods. When Kerry, Angie and I were a lot younger, we’d gone exploring near the woods. We’d found an old dirt lane that veered off from the road and decided to follow it. The lane was so overgrown that it almost disappeared. We followed it to a gate that obviously hadn’t been opened in years. We climbed the gate and found the house. It wasn’t even boarded up. The glass in the windows was intact. Ivy had covered most of the first floor and was starting to take over a second floor balcony. I still remember that the front door was open. It was like whoever had lived there had left in a hurry one day and never came home. The inside was empty. No furniture. Just a lot of dust and cobwebs.
Angie thought it was some kind of fairy house, but Kerry and I were both reminded of Greighdarke Manor. Greighdarke was from a book we had read. So we called it Greighdarke Manor, or just the Manor.
We started hanging out there. We explored the house from top to bottom. We even brought some furniture. Beanbags, some chairs. Lots of blankets and pillows piled up together to make a couch. There wasn’t any electricity, but the water still worked in some places. A few years later, I got worried that whoever owned the house would decide to do something with it someday, so I did some research on the property. As best as I could find out, it was officially owned by a big company called Nibstone, which made computers. The company was owned by some woman named Jennifer Rosewood. The Manor had apparently once belonged to the family. But Mrs. Rosewood had long since forgotten about her property. So we took care of it.
Anyway, we met in one of the bedrooms on the second floor. It was Kerry’s favorite room, because it still got sunshine in the daytime. The windows on the first floor were all covered in ivy, so it was hard to see. But I liked it that way. It also opened onto the balcony which we’d rescued from ivy years ago. Somehow, Angie had gotten lawn furniture up there. Kerry often complained that it was tacky, but that didn’t stop her from sitting out there to read.
Angie, the last to arrive, burst in shouting, “We’re superheroes!”
“We could be supervillains,” I said. After all, having super powers doesn’t immediately make you a hero.
“You’ll be the heroes, I’ll be the villain,” Kerry said sourly.
“Relax, young one,” I said, in my best Darth Sidius impression, “the path to the dark side does not begin with fire.”
“Of course not,” Kerry said, “It begins with accidentally murdering your twin brother.”
“Threatened, I am,” I said, continuing with Yoda.
“Well, Master Seer,” Angie interrupted before Kerry could retaliate, “what do you see in our futures?”
I sighed. “Nothing.”
“What do you mean, nothing?” Kerry said.
“I don’t think I know how to control my powers yet,” I explained. “That’s why I wanted to meet today. They don’t work like I thought superpowers would work. But I was thinking that if Kerry’s right and we just botched a wish and got each other’s powers, then we must have gotten each other’s way of controlling them, too.”
“Controlling them?” Angie said. “Who thinks about that?”
I do. I glared at Angie. If you’re going to pretend to have super powers, you might as well be serious about it. I had thought about everything. What it would feel like to use them, how to stop them. Everything.
“Well, I thought it would be like a muscle that you have to concentrate to use,” Kerry said, “like the one you use to make your eyeballs vibrate.” Oh good, she focused on a thing I can do. Honestly, I think being able to vibrate your eyeballs is genetic. Both Kerry and I can do it, but Angie can’t.
“Could you control what you see?” I asked Kerry. Angie was no longer listening. She was once again making funny faces as she tried to make her eyeballs vibrate. She curled her tongue instead.
“Yeah, I just had to focus on what I wanted to see.” She hesitated, then said, “but I didn’t want to give myself too much power, so I decided that I should only be able to see bits and pieces at a time, and they wouldn’t always make sense.”
I stared at my sister. “You didn’t want to give yourself too much power with your imaginary super powers.” I honestly did try to keep the sarcasm out of my voice.
“Every super hero has a weakness!” Kerry said defensively.
I sighed. I had done the same thing, but I still felt jilted. I shook my head and focused on the little muscles that make your eyes go back and forth, thinking about the weather tomorrow. My vision started dancing and I got a fleeting picture of bright blue, clear skies. I grinned at Kerry.
“Ok, so how do I work mine?” Angie asked. “I was trying all night and I couldn’t turn back into Powderpuff.” Powderpuff was Angie’s cat. Since she had turned into a white cat, she decided she’d changed into her cat.
“I figured in order to change your shape, you’d have to pull on a power within yourself,” I said, “and focus on whatever shape you want to take. You’d have to be very familiar with whatever shape you take. I think the only reason you could turn into a cat is because you’re so familiar with Powderpuff, but you can take the shape of any kind of cat so long as you’re familiar with the cat’s basic exterior.”
Angie stared at me blankly. For a moment, I was worried that I had lost her, then she started to get hazy, and there was a pure black cat sitting in front of me. It blinked, then it got hazy, and there was Angie again, yawning. I grinned. “Changing shape will be very demanding, physically. You’ll have to eat and rest if you shift a lot.”
“Yay,” Angie said half-heartedly, stifling another yawn.
“So,” Kerry said slowly, “Angie, how did you think you would control your power?”
Angie shook her head. “I didn’t,” she said, “I just figured that if I thought about what I wanted to happen, it would happen.”
“Then what was your weakness going to be?”
Angie shrugged, “there wasn’t one.”
Kerry’s face has never showed a clearer picture of horror.