Inimitable

United States

she/her
I drew my profile
Dancer, singer, actress
Student of ASL
B-Way theater nerd
Hufflepuff
I love Loki
Avatar (as in Aang and Korra, not weird blue people)
anime weeb (TPN is my favorite)
LGBT+ ally
~joined 8/10/20~

Message to Readers

READ PROLOGUE THROUGH CHAPTER FOUR FIRST!!! Thanks for checking out this piece. I'd really appreciate any critiques you have to offer.

Untitled - Chapter Five

September 6, 2020

FREE WRITING

1
His head didn't really hurt. It mostly just felt heavy, numb. Probably thanks to the painkillers. He sighed, leaning against his hand as his elbow rested on the arm of the couch.
   "Tea?" Mei called suddenly from the small kitchen across from him.
   "Yes, please," he responded quickly. Jabir had been given plenty of water at the hospital, but his mouth still felt dry and tasted sour.
   He took some time touring Mei's apartment with his eyes. From where he sat, he saw the homey little kitchen and it's black-and-white tiled floor. The cabinets all seemed lower than normal, probably an accommodation made specially for her disadvantage in height.
   He sat on a white leather couch facing a little television, and looking past it, he saw a cute, square wooden dining table.
   From what he could tell, everything in this house was small, tidy, and perfect, just like their owner.
   His gaze floated to Mei then. She looked just as beautiful as always. Her long black hair was woven into a loose braid and resting across her shoulder. A light smile rested on her full lips, shining in her dark eyes. Her cheeks were slightly flushed from crying, but now, that was the only sign of any sadness. Her movements were each sharp and confident, sure and slick. She hummed a little to herself as she worked. He smiled. It was just as it had been back when they were younger.
   As Mei reached up to grab the kettle, however, and her sleeve rolled back, Jabir caught sight of her bare upper arm and his smile faded. There, staining the smooth, pale skin of her left shoulder, the one facing him, was the tight, red mark of a burn scar. He knew that from there, it wrapped its way across the rest of her back as well. He hated seeing it. Not because it disgusted him or bothered her, but because it made him feel guilty. 
   It made him think back to that day, all those years ago, midwinter of their sophomore year in highschool.
   How he had walked her from school to her dance studio, near his house.
   How she had hugged him goodbye as usual.
   How the sirens of half a dozen firetrucks had stormed past him halfway through his own walk home.
   How he had turned to see the giant cloud of smoke rising from the direction of her studio.
   To this day, he blamed himself for what had happened. He knew it was irrational, that it was the fault of the unfinanced building and it's unstable heater. But still. He thought, if he had stayed a bit longer, he could've gone in and saved Mei from where she was trapped in the dressing room. Or he could've told her not to go to rehearsal that day at all
   Mei broke into his regrets, swearing. Her smile was now replaced by an annoyed scowl. She was twisting at knobs on the stove, lips tight in frustration. With a sigh, she closed her eyes and placed her hand on a fireless burner. Suddenly, a small flame danced into existence, growing as it licked at her fingers.
   Jabir's smile returned. At least this was one great thing that had come from the accident.
   "Saw that," he called from his place on the couch.
   Mei yanked back her hand and spun to face him, eyes wide and nervous. Jabir felt a little bad for catching her off guard, but she quickly recovered, sighing and laying a dainty hand on her chest. Her reaction had surprised him. Did it mean this was still a secret? Back in California, he had been the only one Mei had confided in about it. But he assumed, with her living in the big city and having new friends, that she would've told others by now.
   "Gosh, don't scare me like that," she moaned. Jabir shrugged, trying to mix some apology into his expression before asking.
   "You still haven't told anyone?" he pried. "Not Clara, not Bridgette, no one?" He pulled the names from memories of their past phone conversations. From what he remembered, Clara was another Broadway thespian and Bridgette was a member of the tech, the two being some of Mei's closest friends in her occupation. 
   Mei shook her head.
   So he was still the only one who knew. An unexpected sense of pride and self-satisfaction bubbled up within him. He pushed it back down.
   "Alright." He decided to drop the topic. The last thing he wanted was for her to be irritated at him.
   Jabir sat there for a while as Mei waited on the tea kettle. He had just about dozed off when it began to shriek. He shot his head back up, alert, just in time to see Mei pale drastically and stagger away from the stove.
   He shot to his feet quickly, fighting a wave of dizziness as he ran to her side. He placed a steady hand on her back, finding her shaking.
   "What is it, Mei?" He took one of her hands in his, feeling it over gently. "Did you burn yourself?" He looked up to see her shaking her head, wide eyes glued to the window over the stove.
   He followed her gaze, stepping over to the stove. Before checking out what the problem was, he quickly removed the screaming kettle from the burner and doused the homemade fire with a cup of cold water. Then he peered out the glass.
   Nothing was out of the ordinary.
   "Mei, wha-?" He turned back towards her, only to find her pushing past him with a new look of resolve and determination sketched onto her face. She leaned on the stove, craning her head to see around the corner. After a moment, she pointed to a crosswalk about five buildings away. Jabir had to strain to see it, and even then it still only looked like a crowded crosswalk. 
   "You see that girl? About average height, big dark ponytail, dressed all in black?" Mei described shakily. After a moment, he nodded. Then Mei changed the direction of her gesture to the crosswalk right beneath them. "She was right there...ten seconds ago."
   Jabir shook his head, brows furrowed.
   "Mei, I don't-I don't understand…" Before he could finish, Mei pushed her way past him with a huff, still shaking slightly as she rounded the corner.
   "I'll be back," came her call, followed by the slam of a door.
   Jabir stood there in shock for a moment. But just for a moment. After it passed, he rushed out the door after her.

   No matter how hard she sprinted, Mei's pace was no match for Jabir's long-legged strides. 
   "Mei, slow down!" he panted as he caught up with her. "Tell me what happened."
   She didn't slow down, but, as she ran, she relayed what she had seen.
   "She teleported," Mei said, totally confident, causing Jabir to trip up his jog a little. "I was watching her. She was right under the building one moment, and the next she was gone."
   Jabir squinted as he ran, confused.
   "I looked all over, and when I saw her again, she was blocks away!" Mei stopped abruptly, making Jabir skid to a sudden halt. She looked up at him, eyes shining hopefully. "She has some kind of power. She's like me, Jabir."
   This didn't seem like the type of thing Mei would joke about or overreact about, but it also didn't seem likely. Then again, her having the ability to draw fire from thin air wouldn't be believable either unless you had seen it.
   So he met her gaze and nodded slowly.
   She broke into a relieved grin before grabbing his hand and yanking him forward.

   After jogging along for about three minutes, Mei using her size and city savvy to dodge and weave around the crowd of people on the crosswalks, they reached the spot where they had last seen the girl. They continued on, more slowly now, looking around themselves to try and spot her.
   Suddenly, Mei's grip tightened on his hand and she squealed softly, yanking him forward then releasing his hand. He looked in the direction she had pulled him, and sure enough, there was the girl. She was facing away from them, but as she walked, he could see the dazed grin on her face.
   "Hi!" Mei exclaimed, placing a hand on the woman's shoulder. She quickly whirled around, her face pinching into a tight scowl as she swatted Mei's hand away. Jabir reflexively stepped forward in Mei's defence. The girl's eyes flicked between the pair and her frown deepened.
   "Who are you and what do you want?" she spat.
   "I'm Mei. I live a couple blocks away, and I saw you out my window. I-" Jabir watched the girls suspicious gaze hop up to eye him frequently during the introduction, and so, it seems, did Mei.
   "And that's Jabir." she added, jabbing a thumb in his direction. "Don't worry, he's friendly." Then she turned her own scrutinizing gaze on him suddenly.
   "And actually, he almost died this morning, so I probably should've left him at home…" Jabir cringed. Wording it like that made it sound so much worse than he felt like it really was. The girls eyes widened and her eyebrows raised, but Mei continued with a shrug.
   "Oh, well. What's done is done, and I'm getting off topic anyways." Mei cleared her throat. "I don't really know how to word this but bluntly, so here it is: I saw what you did."
   She didn't need to specify for the girl to understand. All the color left her face and her eyes flashed, widening even more. Too slow, she caught herself, forcing her face back into a defensive scowl.
   "I have no idea what you're talking about," she muttered, folding her arms across her chest. Mei rolled her eyes.
   "Yeah, right," she laughed. "You know that's what every guilty person ever says, right?"
   She was right. Up until then, Jabir had still been skeptical that anything strange had happened at all. But now, the look of guilt on the girl's face backed up that she had at least done something.
   Mei grabbed the girl with one hand and Jabir with the other, pulling them off the busy street. The girl looked about ready to fight, but then her wary gaze crossed Jabir's path again, and taking in his size, it seemed she decided otherwise.
   "You don't have to lie. We aren't going to hurt you or anything like that," Mei continued, dragging the pair of them along. Once they were a good distance away from prying eyes, Mei got straight to business. She turned to face the girl, staring straight into her eyes. "I'm like you."
   She extended a hand to the girl, palm up. Then, she brought to life a little blue flame, sparks dancing along her fingertips. It seemed to have appeared out of thin air in the middle of her hand, and moved with a life of its own. Jabir stood in awe. He had seen her do this countless times before, but it still amazed him. It was such a dangerous thing to be messing with, but she handled it so beautifully.
   The girl, seeing the flame, gasped and jumped away, pressing her back into the brick wall behind her. Mei closed her fist, dousing the flame. The girl raised her wide eyes to meet Mei's.
   "I got it when I was fifteen after I survived a fire." She turned, letting one sleeve slip down to reveal the sight of her scar.
   Jabir felt bad for the girl. Mei was such a good people-person, always cheery and bubbly. But in this situation, her enthusiasm could only be making her seem more crazy.
   "What she means is," he stepped in gently. "We sort of figured her powers came from the experience. They only manifested after it, and the disaster was a fire, so we guess that's how she ended up with the particular skill."
   The girl still looked shaken, so he decided to switch to a slightly more casual topic. 
   "If you don't mind my asking, what's your name?"
   "R-Renee," she murmured after a moment. Jabir smiled. They were finally getting somewhere. Mei seemed to tell that he was having better luck than she had and sort of stepped back for the time being.
   "Renee. That's a lovely name." He hoped he was sounding friendly, not creepy. "Renee, do you happen to know why you got your powers? Or at least when they started?"
   Renee shook her head. She seemed to have collected herself enough to shed the expression of shock, though she hadn't quite recovered her natural look of defiance yet.
   "This was the first time."
   The first time? Jabir was confused. Mei had gained her powers immediately after recovery, and they came with quite a shock. However, she had mastered them quickly, and used them semi-regularly throughout the past six years.
   But it seemed this girl had only just discovered her powers. The look Jabir had seen on her face when they first spotted her of utter shock and awe had backed up her words.
   Did this mean that her powers had manifested more slowly? Or that she had only recently had a life-changing experience? Or maybe they had come for an entirely different reason all together.
   He exchanged a look of confusion with Mei before turning back to Renee.
   "Are you sure?" he asked. "Nothing like this has ever happened before? In any degree? Or just something similar?"
   Renee stayed quiet for a moment. Finally, it seemed she came to a decision.
   "Actually, once before, I guess," she nodded slowly. "But this was the first time I did it on purpose." 
   That bright smile reappeared on Mei's face, and she grabbed Renee's arm eagerly, receiving an annoyed frown.
   "When? What was happening? What'd you do?"
   Renee shook Mei off, drawing her arms more tightly against her chest.
   "It was about a year ago," she started. "I..." She paused for a moment, looking away and clearing her throat before continuing. "I had a fall. From pretty high.
   "I was falling. And...and I looked up and saw the platform above me. Then I squeezed my eyes shut, wishing I was there instead of falling through the sky. And when I opened my eyes...I was." 
   Something about the brevity of her description, along with her concealing body language, made Jabir suspicious. Like she was hiding something.
   He looked over at Mei. If she felt the same, she wasn't showing it in any way. She was nodding slightly and watching raptly as Renee spoke. He decided not to mention it.
   "So...you got your powers during your life-or-death experience," Mei noted after Renee had finished. "Unless...did anything similar or anything else freaky happen to you before that? Then your powers were just there for you already in this case."
   Renee only hesitated for a fraction of a second before shaking her head. But Jabir noticed.
   “Did you do the same thing this time?” Mei asked Renee. “You know, closing your eyes and imagining where you wanted to go?”
   This time, Renee nodded right away.
   “Doesn’t sound too hard,” Mei muttered to herself, twisting the tip of her braid around her finger. She looked up into Renee’s face, eyes shining hopefully. “Do you want to try now?”
   Renee looked surprised, as if using her powers was something sacred, only to be done every once and awhile. It made sense, though, seeing as she’d only ever used it twice before.
   “I mean, I guess.” She shrugged. “Sure why not.”
   She closed her eyes, but before she could do anything, Mei stopped her.
   “Wait,” she called. Renee opened her eyes, looking a tiny bit annoyed. “I just want you to be aware, there might be some kind of...side effect.” 
   Jabir raised a questioning eyebrow at her. She’d never told him of any “side effects” before. She ignored his look, continuing.
   “When I use my fire, I kinda feel warm all over, but my scar burns. I’ve done it so much, though, that I hardly notice it anymore,” she explained. "Did you have anything like that?"
   Renee thought for a moment then nodded slowly.
   "Actually, yeah," she started. "I think I know what you mean. Just now when I did it, I kinda got this falling sensation, just for a second, but it felt longer. Guess I didn't notice the first time since I was actually falling then…" She trailed off.  
   Mei nodded encouragingly.
   "Yeah, that's it! That would make sense if your power came from a fall." She smiled, satisfied. "Okay, so you already know what's coming. I think you're good to try it now."
   Mei peeked around the corner, double checking that they weren't being watched. Then she straightened up, and pointing to a fire hydrant a few yards away, said: "Try just going there for now."
   Renee nodded. Jabir watched as she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then vanished.
Thank you to everyone who made it this far! This will quite possibly be the last chapter I post on this platform as I look for a better home for a novel, but you never know; another chapter might appear here every now and then ;)

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1 Comment
  • BlueWolf

    Awwwww!!!!! But need more chapters!!!! :(!!! Hope you find a good home for it!!! I think it's brilliant and really clever! I like how they are all interconnected and I am intrigued to find out what happens next!!! I need a whole book!!!! ;)


    5 months ago