Turning Eighteen: Part 8

We stepped outside.

Daniel shut the door behind us, and we stood on the walk in front of his front porch, stopping next to a light shaped like an old gas street lamp.

Looking back at the house, I asked, “Is he getting worse?”

“I don’t know. It seemed like one of his good days. He knew who everyone was, and he was in a good mood. It’s so stupid. Do you think he’s worse?”

“it seems like ages since the last time I saw him, and the last time… Wow. You know, the last time I was here, he seemed to think he was still fighting World War 2. That was worse. He was doing something weird, but he was in the real world–if that makes any sense.”

Daniel frowned. “Maybe. Maybe not. That’s how he used to practice. He grew up in New York City during the Great Depression so his family didn’t have much. He’d practice his control while putting away dishes.

“He told me that his mom walked in on him while he was practicing once and started screaming about how he might drop the dishes. Unfortunately she surprised him–”

“Ugh. How many did he drop?”

“I don’t know. He told me the story when I was little. I remember hearing that it didn’t exactly make his mom stop screaming. He laughed about it when he told me, but as a kid he felt guilty for years. Dishes were expensive.”

“He seems to have recovered.”

“Yeah. Can we talk about something else?”

I nodded. “Do you want to stand here, or take a walk, or something?”

Daniel took a step toward the sidewalk. “Let’s go.”

We walked down the block, not saying anything at first.  We’d done it before, and we’d do it again, but in some ways this was the last time. High school was over. Who knew where we’d be next summer? Daniel was going to the University of Chicago. He might stay there all summer next year . Jaclyn had decided to go to the University of Michigan. Maybe she’d even see Rachel every once in a while.

It almost made me rethink my own choice. I’d opted to go to Grand Lake University, and stay in town. If I joined up with the Stapledon program, they’d pay for any college that would let me in. I’d never thought to apply to MIT, but that seemed possible if I wanted it enough. Isaac Lim might even be willing to pull some strings to get me in.

Still, the thought of leaving Haley in Grand Lake made me feel a little funny, and I wasn’t at all sure how to bring the Rocket suit along if I left home.

Ahead of us, Mr. Welch, a grey haired man in a t-shirt mowed his lawn. He waved at us as we walked past, the roar of the mower making conversation impossible.

I imagined poking Daniel in the stomach, making sure to imagine the uncomfortable feeling as vividly as I could.

He made contact, or at any rate, made the tenuous contact we already had stronger.

Daniel: That never gets old.
Me: It got your attention.
Daniel: A lot of things get my attention.
Me: Did you catch what your grandfather said about a power device?
Daniel: I did, and I’ve got no idea what he meant. Dementia or not, his shields won’t let me get anywhere.
Me: That sucks.
Daniel: I know.
Me: It seems kind of ominous.
Daniel: We can add it to the list. My dad still won’t say anything about what he was doing in space, and neither will Mom. And she was in contact with him the whole time, or at least when they were both dreaming. Then there’s Martin Magnus, Gimpy and all the other Cabal remnants that still have to be out there. Plus, Lee.
Me: I can clear up Lee at least.

I did.

Daniel: And strangely that doesn’t make me feel better at all.
Me: Me neither, but it’s nice to sort of understand what’s going on.
Daniel: Ha.

We stopped at a city park a few blocks from Daniel’s house. We’d played there together as kids, usually with Daniel’s mom watching us.

Two boys sat on the swings, shouting at each other about something. I might have caught the word, “Pikachu.”

We walked over to some trees and stood in the shade. Daniel pulled out his phone. “I might as well call Cassie. Do you have any movie ideas?”

On the playground, the two boys had jumped off the swings to race for the slide.

“I’m working on it,” I said.

The End of Book Three: Dueling Powers

21 thoughts on “Turning Eighteen: Part 8”

  1. Very well written. Quality character development. A good amounts of twists and turns to keep interest without getting dry. You have the makings of a great writer in you. Good luck and will keep reading (heck, thinking of buying a copy when you put it to print).

  2. This was genius.



    And there is no-one here can say different

  3. This is both sad and exciting all at the same time. :S

    I don’t always comment, because I prefer to have something to say, rather than dropping inane waffle too often, but I have enjoyed every chapter of both books, and am looking forward to wherever you take us next.

    Methinks it might be time to check the bank balance and hit that donate button as a measure of appreciation. I should point out that I value your writing much more than I can afford to donate, but I will endeavour to support you whenever I can.

    To my fellow readers – I’m sure some of you already have donated (you are silent stars!), but for the rest of us, I’m sure Jim would appreciate whatever we can spare, no matter how small.

    *Applauds the completion of Book Two, and wipes eyes with a hankie*

  4. And now, everything changes.

    I remember starting this story way back when and thinking, “This is awesome!” After following along for so long, I’m proud to be able to say the same thing. Many stories fail to raise the bar, or even meet the expectations they’ve created, but I feel that this one does.

    As an avid reader, and harried college student, I drop and pick up stories at an alarming rate, but this one has been a constant. Thanks a lot Jim, I can’t wait to see where things go from here. I know I’m no one, but believe me, that is no small compliment.

  5. Ah yes, the somber reflection that everything is changing. Two innocent children at play in contrast with Nick and Daniel, whose simpler worries are seemlessly integrated into their worries of what it means to take the next step, to college, while being a superhero. This is what we have come to expect. Our memories, or perhaps a few current experiences, of high school and graduating, blended with a world from comic books. Hanging out with high school friends becomes an impromptu superhero patrol. Graduation, interrupted by a vengeful villain. Drug problems, where the drug gives you superpowers. The decline in sanity of a close friend’s grandparent who is a powerful telepath and telekine. Where we have a wars in the middle east, they have wars in outerspace. A world where the mundane and the metahuman meet and feel like they work, not like one was jammed into the other.

    It feels like it could be an ending, except for the unanswered questions, potential storylines, and a few loaded Chekhov’s guns. Yet, the college days, much as in real life, wouldn’t be the same as these two books. The team would be scattered. Their dynamic as a team, and as friends, just wouldn’t be the same. At the same time, their problems are only growing bigger. A superhero cabal controlling the city and being hunted by a super-assassin don’t quite stack up to interstellar intrigue and Lovecraftian extinction.

    I want you to know that if I could put on some sort of powered armor and rob a bank for money, I’d donate.

    Good job.

  6. Eli/Adam/Michael/Belial/Daniel/IC/Everyone: Thanks. It’s always a relief to know I’ve done something right. It’s also a relief to know I’m up to the point where I can start editing book two–once I finish editing book one.

    Hg: I’ll have to read Mordecai Richler sometime. I haven’t yet.

    WA_Side: I barely noticed the sad side of graduation as a high school senior. I’ve become more aware that it was an ending of certain things as an adult. I’m sure it carried over into this post.

    Charles/IC: I think the two of you are the earliest readers that I know for sure are still reading. If there are others I’m not aware of, let me know. I’m glad you’re still here.

    In fact, I’m glad everyone’s reading. That’s one of the great things about the internet. It makes it possible for me to put the story where people can find it.

    PG: Trying to mix the everyday feel of life with comic books is one of the things I’ve been deliberately trying to do from the beginning. It’s nice to know people notice.

  7. ……and the adventure continues.

    Jim, I don’t know what your plans are but I have noticed the many, many new faces on this blog. Congratulations on what you’re doing.

  8. Well, I know I’ve been reading it for quite a while now, Jim. I’m thinking that when I first started, you were up to chapter 5.

    Needless to say, I’m looking forward to chapter 5000. 🙂


  9. Bill: Thanks. I’m continuing to advertise. That helps. And fortunately people are staying after seeing the site.

    Hg: I didn’t know you were around that far back, but it makes sense. I think Chapter Five came out right around when Legion was newly listed on Alexandra Erin’s Pages Unbound (which no longer exists).

  10. @Hydrargentium,

    Ah, I remember those good old days. Hey, remember when someone (I forgot who) wanted Jim to write a cameo for the Mighty Mouse Muncher?? (lol) I think that was around the “Three” Book, when Nick was in LA

  11. I think that Charles may have suggested it, and to be honest, I very nearly included a version of Nick’s Mickey Mouse Mech idea as one of the mechs used in the story’s climax. Unfortunately while it did strike me as funny, I wasn’t sure if I could justify Nick creating a mech with giant mouse ears for a life and death fight.

  12. Hi, first time reader burning through the story. Awesome! Excited to read more!

    I noticed at the end of this it says End of Book Two: Powers… but according to the contents list, this is almost the end of Book 3. Should that be altered to match up? Just curious.

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