It was a cool brisk fall evening when Joe happened upon the events that would change his life forever.
He had gone for a bite to eat after school that afternoon. Pizza, his usual choice, sausage and mushrooms. He had gotten 3 slices and finished them all, along with a large soda.
He carried his thin, wary form out the door of Mario's Pizzeria and onto the sidewalk running along Downtown. A quick breeze stirred the dirty blond hair that hadn't been cut in months. Stuffing his hands into the leather jacket he had gotten the previous Christmas, he held it closer to block out the wind that continued to blow around him.
Joe's mind began to wander the same way his feet were wandering - not along their normal route. Don't misunderstand - Joe's mind carried him off often, as with any teenage mind, but this time it wasn't the standard sports and girls or late assignments that drew his attention from the damp sidewalk in front of him. Something that Mrs. Underwood had said today during History class had sparked his interest to the point that he couldn't keep it from intruding on every class for the rest of the day.
"The only limits you need to observe, are the limits you place on yourself."
She had been talking about one of Ben Franklin's inventions innovating life at the time, but the comment instantly struck Joe as something to pay attention to. He had been limiting himself quite a bit lately. In Math he had purposely answered a few test questions wrong in order to prevent his sixth perfect test in a row; in Gym he had to slow his speed so that he wouldn't outrun Coach Bailey. Ever since starting at Carter High School he had been doing that more and more. His ability to do so well only served to make him feel more alone, further from the few friends he did have. He was still doing better than he ever had before, things were just so clear lately. He looked at a hard math problem, or at another hurdle on the track around the football field and it just ... made sense.
Joe finally found his way home, and as he was turning the doorknob to go inside when a bright flash of light drew his attention behind him. It was far off in the distance but he couldn't take his eyes off of it.
Another bright flash! This one was further away still. Joe couldn't explain it at all, but each time it would flash, his body would pulse in time with it. Three, four, five flashes later and he convulsed with each of them. One final flash brightened up the night sky and making it day again. Joe's body shook violently and he could feel the blood flow through each tiny vein as it pulsed along with the light. Suddenly, everything went black!
Joe lifted his head from the wooden slats of the porch floor to his family's house. It was still dark out. He looked hard into the darkness to spot the light he seen only moments ago. Or was it hours? he checked his watch and it showed 9:15 PM. That sounded right to him, fifteen minutes until curfew. That should be just enough time.
His legs moved almost on their own after that. He willed himself towards the small wood where the light had come from. The pounding of his blood through veins and arteries had subsided, at least for now. He felt mostly normal except for the increasingly heavy breathing from running. Closer and closer he came to the spot where he assumed the light had come from. As he ran the images of the light from earlier replayed in his mind. The picture in his head was so crisp, so clear, so real. He saw himself looking at the light, feeling his body react to the pulsing glow. He stopped the reeling in his mind before getting to the point where the blackout happened.
Joe took of his jacket, the sweat starting to build and becoming a hindrance. The cool night air felt almost cold against his moist skin. As he tossed the jacket aside he heard a noise. That noise should have been a plop on the ground when the jacket hit, but it wasn't. Curious, he looked back to the spot the jacket would have landed.
Small waves radiated from the spot the jacket had fallen into the water. In disbelief he looked around himself and saw that he was standing about a mile straight into the middle of the lake. His mind reeled once again at how this was possible, and how he was standing motionless on top of the water.
And then he wasn't.
I'd like to thank Steve for the opportunity to write for the site. I haven't seen any works of fiction up here previously, so I don't know how well it'll be received. Thought provoking I hope! If you like what you read, and would like to see a continuation of this story, or perhaps a new one altogether, I am starting up a blog: ProdigalKnight. I look forward to hearing your feedback and hope all is going well at the Day Camp this week for Steve!
editor's note: No works of fiction? Check out the story section!