By the end of school, Brian was edgy and ready to go home. He smiled with relief when he saw Jordan at her locker and practically ran up to her.
“God, it’s been a day!” he said.
“Me too. I kept seeing weird shit,” Jordan said. “No one looked right. And there were shadows….”
“Like right here?” Brian waved his hands in the furthest reaches of his peripheral vision.
“Yes! I’m so glad it’s not just me. I thought I was going crazy! Not that it really should make me feel any better. It’s like all the shadows were gathering, preparing for… something.”
Brian shuddered. That was exactly what he’d felt. Having her say it somehow made it seem all too real.
Heath picked them up and took them back to their house. He tried to make it seem like any other day, but both the kids knew differently. He made small talk until Jordan stopped him. She and Brian described what they had been experiencing all day.
“Us too,” he said quietly. “Even Maribelle, as bad as her vision is, saw things. In fact, I think she saw more detail. It was as if the less we focused on it, the more we saw.”
“What do you think is going to happen,” Jordan asked.
“I don’t know, honey. But whatever it is, I think it’s going to be soon.”
Brian and Jordan spent a couple hours trying to do their homework, but neither of them could concentrate. They walked into the kitchen, looking for their parents, and found the three of them at the table.
“Hey, honey. Want to help Maribelle and me fix dinner?” Jackie asked.
“Sure! The men can bond over a game of pool or something,” Jordan said, going to the sink to wash her hands.
Brian and Heath looked at one another, resigned smiles on their faces.
“We know when we’re not wanted,” Heath said, trying to sound huffy. “We’ll find something to do.”
“Maybe we should knock out that wall you were talking about,” Brian said. “You know, the one in the basement?”
“Sounds like a great plan,” Heath said.
“No wall knocking allowed!” Jackie called after them, laughing. “No do-it-yourself anything!”
They trotted downstairs to the game room. A pool table and TV with game consoles took up most of the space. The laundry room was to the left and a closed door to the right.
“You like pool?” Heath asked Brian.
“How about a game?”
Heath uncovered the table and racked the balls. Brian chose his cue, chalking the tip. They flipped a coin to see who would break. Brian won. As he leaned over to line up his shot, Heath stopped him.
“This is a good way to practice,” he said calmly.
“To practice what?”
“Your abilities. They need exercise in order to get stronger. You also need to get used to them. Focus on the front ball. As you draw back the cue, imagine it hitting the others in just the right spot to separate the balls. Can you do that?”
“I can try,” Brian said, leaning over once more. He aimed at the ball, concentrating on it. He hit the cue a little low. It nearly jumped off the table. “Dammit!”
Heath smiled, picking up the ball. “Try it again. This time, divide your attention between the cue and the other ball. You know where to hit it to get it to go where you want. Try again.”
Brian did. It was better, but not as good as it might have been.
“Again.” Heath racked the balls once more. “And this time, don’t hold your breath.”
“Could have told me that already,” Brian muttered.
“And spoil the fun? Just do what I tell you. Divide your attention, aim and breathe. Quit trying to make it hard.”
“Quit distracting me.”
Brian aimed again. Heath’s cue stick rapped his knuckles, commanding Brian’s attention. The smile was gone. His dark eyes were angry, frustrated.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes