“Water will always find a path,” Mrs. Wheaton lectured, flashing a picture of the Grand Canyon on the screen at the front of the classroom.
Charlene studied the twisting outlines carved by the flow of the Colorado River. She’d seen the canyon once, but her memory hadn’t recorded its stunning size.
A sharp pain just below her shoulder blade made her jump, but she refused to turn around. Being a target of every bully in school had taught her some hard lessons, and chief among these was: never give them the satisfaction of acknowledging that they hurt you.
Still, she could feel a wave of power surge through her, propelled by pain and frustration. Suppressing it had become second nature; the first lesson she’d learned when her power had become evident was that using it to hurt someone would not be tolerated. It brought too much attention to their hidden community.
She shifted forward in her seat, hoping to move out of easy range of the pencil jabbing into her back, and inadvertently caught the attention of the teacher.
“Yes Charlene? Did you have a question?”
Her mind went blank, and then latched onto the first question that raised its hand.
“What happens if the water gets blocked? Like if there’s a landslide or something?”
Mrs. Wheaton sent Charlene the smile she reserved for students who managed to ask the perfect question to lead into the next part of the lecture.
“The water will work to weaken whatever is blocking it. Sooner or later, the pressure will become too much, and the water will flow again.”
Charlene nodded, and fought to keep her face blank as the pencil jabbed into her back again.
Before she could shift farther away, the tip of the pencil dug into her back once more, releasing a thin trickle of blood down her back.
A cresting wave of power propelled her to her feet and she turned to face the boy, a tempest roaring in her head. She clenched her hands into fists in one last attempt at control, but she knew it was too late.
Power, like water, will find a path.
Her eyes lowered, narrowing slightly in concentration, and then traveled back up to watch his expression shift from a sneer to horrified shock.
“If you needed to pee that badly, I’m sure Mrs. Wheaton would have let you go.”
Charlene watched the boy leap from his seat, his book clutched low in a futile attempt to hide the inexplicable wetness as he raced from the classroom. Smiling, she sat back down as laughter followed him through the door.
Power will find a path, she thought, but it will be the one I choose.
This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge - our assignment was to write about the forbidden or taboo. In this case, I wrote about Charlene's need to hide a power her classmates (and most of the world), wouldn't understand.
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