Genre: YA - SciFi/Horror
17 year old Evangeline Aster isn’t clever or pretty or brave, but she has a power. Evan can blow things up just by feeling sad. Or happy. Or any other normal human emotion. To keep everyone safe, all she has to do is keep her emotions in check. Unfortunately, her dad has just died, her twin sister is a monster, and they’ve both been sent to boarding school in middle-of-nowhere Vermont. Nestled on top of Glastenbury, a dangerous mountain full of dark and twisted secrets, Aldebaran is no ordinary boarding school. Danger lurks around every mossy corner--the perfect triggers for Evan’s emotion-fueled-bomb. But the people at the Academy already know this. They’ve brought Evan to the mountain of nightmares on purpose, to take her power and turn it into a weapon that no one on Earth could ever survive.
My story is the stuff that bad movies are made from.
Late last week and in the middle of a thunderstorm, an exhumed plot from cinema’s graveyard had come knocking, stealing away our father and sealing my fate.
Boarding school...in the woods...with my sister Morgen. The orphaned-teenage-girl-attends-
I almost cried. Almost. My tears still weighed heavy, stinging my insides, but I couldn’t let them trickle out. I wasn’t allowed to grieve. As my doctors had put it, feeling strong emotions are ‘inadvisable’ for someone with my condition. Especially while traveling on a six and a half hour flight.
You see, I have superpowers.
Sort of. Stuff blows up when I get upset. Or pissed off. Or over the moon happy, although I can’t remember what that last one feels like. It’s more glamorous to call yourself superhuman than human-grenade. Honestly, my condition is a nightmare. It makes being a teenager impossible.
The only thing protecting the rest of Flight 777 from me were the pharmaceuticals pumping through my veins.
Tears would have to wait.
The old Boeing finally touched down in Burlington Vermont. I picked the last bits of Nevada out from under my fingernails, having gotten up extra early that morning to throw dirt on my father’s coffin. As we waited for the plane to taxi-in, I felt the heat of Morgen’s face an inch from my own.
“Quit it,” I mumbled.
“Just checking to see if you’re still breathing.” She sounded disappointed. Her face lingered as she studied my mouth. “Nice snore by the way.”
“I wasn’t sleeping.”
I shoved the airline pillow between us, and pushed her off. Of all the things Morgen did to bother me, this creeped me out the most.
“If cats can steal a baby’s breath, imagine what I could do,” Morgen had once said.
She was six.
I often wondered if my twin was trying to reabsorb me, ex utero.
“Grab your backpack, Evan, we’re here.”
I couldn’t budge. I glanced at the happy faces flurrying about the cabin. They all had something to look forward to. Better yet, someone. I sighed and pushed up the window cover, but the layers of filth blotted out the view.
I released myself from the faded blue seat. The stiff belt buckles clanked to either side, but I couldn’t move. Instead, I let the cracked pleather pinch me into place a little while longer.
“Who’s picking us up again?”
“I told you,” Morgen snapped, annoyed. “Aunt Daphne will be waiting for us at the gate-”
“I still don’t understand how she’s our aunt.”
“Shocking.” Morgen snorted. “She’s dad’s sister. They’re estranged. We’re staying with her . Then we go to Aldebaran.”
Aldebaran. Aldebaran Academy. Our new home sounded more like a mid-century insane asylum than a progressive institute for academia. The online site for Aunt Daphne’s alma mater reeked of nouveau riche preppies from all corners of New England.
Blond kids in cardigans were not what I had in mind for my thirteenth year of school.
Most kids our age chose what they studied during their transitional year. Engineering, politics, agriculture; whatever they could contribute to society, that’s what they’d do. Our futures were determined by our strengths. Mine would have been Astronomy, but after our dad died, guardianship was turned over to a Ms. Daphne Aster of Glastenbury Vermont. She got to call the shots now.
Morgen took the news surprisingly well. Expectant, even. Then again, Morgen’s strength was sex, so she’d adjust. I, on the other hand, had never heard of Aldebaran Academy. Or an Aunt Daphne, for that matter.
Three months. Three more months until I’m eighteen, and then I can do whatever the hell I want.
“Let’s go!” My twin snatched up the backpack, and plowed her way through the laggers, still struggling with the overhead.
“Dammit, Morgen.” I hopped up quickly to chase after her. “Sorry,” I mouthed, as I passed the indignant faces my sister just mowed down.
Morgen stood at the end of the boarding bridge, twirling my bag by a loop at the top. She grinned and twisted the zipper, taunting me.
“Give me the bag, Morgen.” I held out my hand. She knew my pills were in there.
Morgen barely shook her head. Her eyes narrowed, and her mouth twitched up at the corners.
My hand began to shake.
Oh God, not here, not in the middle of a crowded airport.
Watching me lose control was Morgen’s game of choice. Didn’t matter who got hurt. Morgen was beautiful and popular and ordinary. My curse was that shiny toy she could never have, but was determined to play with.
Should’ve known. She waited the whole flight to do this.
My sister would’ve never done this on the plane. Not with her own precious ass on the line.
I needed another dose to stop this.
Morgen tilted her head, enjoying the show. She fished out my prescription, along with a bottle of aspirin. “Your last real dose was twelve hours ago.”
“Jesus, Morgen. What did you do?”
“Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing, what, thirty-seconds from now?” She stuffed the bottles back into her jacket.
“You switched my pills, are you insane? You could have blown up the plane--”
People claim to see a metaphorical red when they’re angry. I saw blue. Actual blue.
The blue flash zigzagged across my line of sight. I squeezed my eyes shut, trapping the light inside.
Don’t get mad, don’t get mad--
“Careful sweetie. You don’t want to give yourself a nosebleed, do you?”
“Give me my p-p-pills,” I stuttered, fighting against the rush of adrenaline. Wouldn’t be long now. We both knew what was coming next.
“I can’t,” Morgen grinned. “They’re back in Nevada. In the toilet.”
I tightened my body, bracing for the inevitable.
Maybe no one will notice.
“Tick-tock, Leeny,” Morgen said. “Gotta let it out on something."
Morgen was pure evil.
I clenched my fists. Bright halos of light burst into my peripherals. They swallowed my sight, replacing my eyes with headlights. Electricity spread down my neck, sharpening the edges of my skin. Bathed in eerie blue light, my body creaked in objection.
My eyes flew open. They settled on a young man kissing his lover near the magazines. His lips smoldered and bruised blue.
They darted away, to a woman peddling roses from a beat-up satchel, but her flowers wilted.
I frantically scrambled my attention towards something I couldn’t hurt. Out of the giant window and onto the tarmac, the runway, the airplanes, all shimmered in a hot blue haze.
“No,” I gasped.
My gaze lifted to the shadowy outline of the distant Green Mountain Range.
Focusing on the farthest peak, I slowly released the tension from my body.
Too fast, and BOOM, I would detonate.
The blue light burned as it passed through me. I winced at the sensation, at the hot chemical pain that seared another hole into my shirt. Not that clothes mattered. Things like fashion lost their meaning a long time ago.
I sighed my relief when the blue cloud mushroomed off the distant peak and smothered the sun.
“That’s good, Leeny,” Morgen muttered over my shoulder. “Except for all the hikers you just barbecued.” She snickered into my ear. “You really should control that temper.”