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Breed: Two

11/03/15

  11:21:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1082 words  
Categories: Breed

Breed: Two

?What's wrong with him again?? Mira asked quietly, watching Elijah take in the large, blocky buildings flanking the paved path through the school's field. Rox glared at her. ?You know what I mean.?
?He's on the autism spectrum,? Rox whispered.
?I can get overwhelmed, and miss social signals,? Elijah said, without turning away from the communications building.
?Sorry,? Mira said, looking down at the ground.
?Don't be,? he said softly. ?I have trouble holding people's social ineptitude against them, you know, living in the glass house that I do.? Mira smiled. ?I just called you socially inept, didn't I? See, that's why I can't hold it against you.?
?Still, though,? she said. ?So what brings you here??
?Is it that obvious I'm too young to be here?? he asked. ?I'm on track to graduate in a couple of years, at 16. But once you graduate, you 'age out' of most of the programs and supports designed for people with autism. And even with my folks in Seattle, that's close, but it's still more than an hour away- it's preparing to live without the supports I've grown up with. So I'm working on my transition, now, preparing.?
?That's cool,? Rox said. ?I haven't graduated, yet, technically, but I'm taking all of my classes here at the college. I'll graduate high school with an Associates Degree.?
?Hmm,? he said. ?That might work, if I lived here. And my mom wants me to go to Seattle Central, the community college closest to her. But I want- no, I need, to go this school. I'm not just autistic, I'm,? he lowered his voice, ?I'm special. Part of what Professor Hamilton calls the new breed.?
?Oh,? Mira said. ?Us, too.? Rox glared again. ?I mean me, too.?
Rox sighed. ?Most of us here, are. I don't think they turn away people without abilities, but I think everybody knows now that this is the only campus actively recruiting people like us, even if it's still kind of kept quiet.?
?What can you do?? Mira asked.
?Mira!? Rox bellowed.
?What? I'll show him mine...?
?Okay, that is not appropriate.?
?I didn't mean it like that.?
?It's really no big deal,? Elijah said, ?but, okay, it is to me. Because I kind of frequently don't understand people myself, so it's kind of revelatory, but it's not impressive, is what I mean. But I can understand people. Like, in aggregate. That's why I have to be here. Because I can feel the way most people feel about us, the fear, the anxiety, even in a relatively progressive place like Seattle. But it's not like that here. This place is, it's so full of energy, and, and hope. The people here really honest and truly believe that the future is going to better than today. Most of the rest of the world I can feel the post-apocalypse building- just preparing for all out war, with their friends, and neighbors and siblings; there are people actively building towards that world. But here, it's like, collectively, the people here are just waiting for the sun to set on this crappy day, because they know tomorrow's going to be better.?
?That actually sounds pretty cool,? Mira said.
?For me it can be a lifeline. You know, feeling disconnected, and then being able to reach out and connect with not just a person but thousands, feeling like I know all of them, that I can understand all of them. But I showed you mine...?
?Okay, I'm going to forgive that phrasing, since I was the one who introduced it in the first place, and you might not get how it's coming across-?
He tried to hide a smile.
Mira continued anyways. ?Though I suspect that isn't true, in this case. Energy can't be created or destroyed, right? But it can be converted. That's what I do. Rox, hit me.?
?Wait,? Elijah said, putting up his hand. Rox was used to the display, and backhanded Mira before he could protest. ?I don't get it,? he said.
?Here,? Mira said, and put up her hand. Energy arced from her fingertips into the sky. ?I mean, that was just one little punch, so, you know, not much energy to it. But I can store up a lot more energy than that.?
?How much?? he asked.
?Upper level? I don't know. I mean, I've never really tried to push my limits. But I got hit by a car, once, walking to school, knocked me clear into an intersection, where I got hit by a city bus. I didn't know what I was, then. My ability happened automatically, absorbed the impacts, then redirected the energy. It cut the bus in half, like literally, one side fell this way, the other traveled another twenty feet and tipped the other way. I mean, thank God both sides collapsed outward, or people could have gotten seriously hurt, but...?
?That's neat. Terrifying, but neat. Makes me kind of glad, too.?
?Why's that??
?Because my power kind of scares people, just because they don't understand, so it's easier to be afraid. But by comparison mine's way, way less scary.?
?Thanks,? Mira said, frowning.
He winced. ?Sorry.?
?I know what you mean. And I'm glad that it's not a burden you have to shoulder. I mean, I don't get hit by buses every day, so, you know, it hasn't been too bad on me.?
?Twice,? he said.
?Twice??
?I been hit by a car twice. It's my own fault. I, sometimes I get overwhelmed, and it can be hard to let all the stimuli back in. If I have a fight with my parents, or friends, or a teacher, you know, you get so focused on that one thing, that I can't see the cars coming right at me. I think that's the most scary thing about it, knowing that when push comes to shove, I can't trust myself, not completely. So I'm glad that at least if I get hit by another car, or probably when, I'm not getting anybody killed except maybe myself.?
?Crap,? Rox said. ?We're going to be late to orientation if we don't book it.?
?Was that an education joke?? Mira asked with a grin.
?No, it was an invitation to make fewer stupid jokes and pump your legs.?
?Don't mind her,? Mira said. ?She has a tragic back story. She was raised by a father who was fun-deaf, by a mother who was fun-mute. She never learned how to have any fun.?

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