A short story from the collection Shorts
Mikey didn’t know why he was different.
He didn’t want to tell anyone about it because he was ashamed that being different to everybody else wasn’t a good thing. On the outside he projected the normal eleven year old boy he thought the people around him wanted him to be, but underneath, what he felt, and the things that he could do, it made him feel a hundred times different from the little boy everyone thought he was.
He wondered if any of the kids at school were like him. If any of them could do the kind of things he could do. He wondered if anyone he knew kept the same kind of big dark secret the same way he did and likewise carry it around with them like the burden it had become to him, constantly praying on his mind that he was some kind of freak, having it constantly eat away at him, giving power to the inner voice telling him that he was a hideous weirdo that society would reject and persecute if they knew his secret. The saddest part of his secret was that it made him feel like he was some kind of monster nobody could ever love. The long and the short of the matter was that he wondered if there was anyone else in the world that was built like him or if anyone else could do the things he could do. He’d done a little research on the things he’d found he was capable of on the Internet when his mother had allowed him to go on her computer. It had to only be at the times when she was too busy in her own world not to notice what he was reading or what he was up to though, as far as he knew so far she didn’t have a clue about any of this stuff that was bothering him so much and if she did know she’d done a thorough job of not letting on. The information he’d found out so far just made him think that his situation was fairly unique, that the reports of other people claiming to be able to do what he could actually do were all taken with a gargantuan pinch of salt. These were the people who were generally mocked and met with obvious doubt having had their claims unproven and mocked as lies, gaining the reputation for being those crazy freaks seeking their ten minutes of fame for such outrageous claims. He didn’t want to be that freak. He was going to keep his mouth firmly shut. Although he knew it would be very easy for him to prove he was telling the truth, he could do all those things at the drop of a hat, but really he was far too scared to face the consequences of doing so. As he laid floating three inches above the covers on his bed, as he often did because just like any other normal eleven year old he hated making the bed; in the same way he didn’t particularly care for the constant nagging from his mother to get it done when his duvet was hanging off practically on the floor, or to tidy his room when his toys were everywhere apart from on the shelves and in the boxes under his bed where they should have been. It was simply the nagging a normal eleven year old boy would endure from their mother but he knew, the truth of the matter was he was far from being that child. The problem with his special abilities was the residue it left behind. When he floated, or when he moved things by thinking about it, without touching those objects, when he used what the pages on the Internet called telekinesis, unlike the other unproven reports of how this worked for the people who claimed they had the same gift as Mikey, when he did it it always seemed to leave some kind of dust behind. It was almost metallic by nature, it caught the light in quite beautiful ways and made tiny sparkles if it caught the bright sunlight or you shone a torch on it. It was almost like glitter or a really fine metallic powder. It became an odd solution to the making the bed problem because although he didn’t have to be constantly picking up his duvet and straightening it out it he did have to sweep this residue off the sheets and onto the floor. The same with if he were to move objects just by thinking about it. This powder he’d create while performing the act was pretty much always left floating down from his hands to the floor. He did a lot less tidying up but what he did have to do was a lot more hoovering.
Generally though, apart from the doubts and the fears this odd ability had instilled in him from what might happen if anyone found out about it there was a part of Mikey that had been more than grateful for the advantages it had brought him so far. There was the bullying thing that happened at school that was soon nipped in the bud thanks to his abilities. Gary Clark had been on his case for quite some time. Gary Clark was the kind of boy who was always on somebodies case for something. Gary Clark was the kind of boy Mikey’s Grandma would call a shit-flick. Last month it had turned out it had been Mikey’s turn to suffer the wrath of Clark and Mikey was down eleven of his best trading cards and four pack-up lunches. That included the chocolate biscuits that were his favourites, the ones his mother bought especially for him from that little coffee place she goes to with her friend Meg – Aunt Meg to him and Lucy. Gary Clark has a broken leg now. He wouldn’t be bullying anybody for quite some time and if he did, and if Mikey caught wind of it, then Gary Clark might be right back on those crutches and out of harms way again. Tripping the likes of Gary Clark up from forty feet away and shoving him down the science block stairs was a cinch. Then just a few little kicks and a smooth over with his foot would remove the shiny dust that had dropped from his fingertips and was soon mixed in with the day to day dust and dirt on the ground, with the fluff and cobwebs that sat brushed up against the skirting boards of the school corridors. Gary Clark had been rushed to hospital pretty quick as the school nurse wasn’t pushing that bone back under his skin anytime soon. Sticking plasters, cold compresses and Junior Disprin were about her limit. Metal plates and bolts through a shit-flick’s bone were a little out of her remit. Gary Clark wasn’t the only person he’d used his gift to affect but he was the only one he’d seriously hurt. He didn’t really want to hurt anyone but at eleven years old it’s hard to come up with a smarter plan to keep that kind of wolf at bay, especially where it concerned triple choc and fudge cookies from Cup-A-Cabana. Those were some serious biscuits which made this a very serious business.
He’d made a few good things happen for his friends too, but on those occasions they were nicer acts made to put smiles on faces. Generally Mikey hung with the crowd that wasn’t the most popular. They were the type of kids that didn’t get picked early on when games required teams. In fact, most of his friends were the kids who’d nearly always be picked last. The ones nobody wanted – so if he could spread a little joy amongst them then what was the harm? At Sports Day he made Toni Benner’s skirt blow up as if it were caught in a gust of wind so everyone could see her pants but he made sure it was when his pal Eric was stood right in front of her. Good old Eric talked about that for weeks. It made Mikey feel good that he could bring that kind of happy into Eric’s life. Eric had suffered at the hands of Gary Clark too so Mikey reckoned he really deserved it. And that Toni Benner sure was cute.
He’d been sneaking off to the old goods yard to see exactly what he could do with his abilities. It was somewhere he felt he could let loose with this power of his without the worry of breaking anything or hurting anybody. It was somewhere where other people hardly ever went so it offered him the privacy to test out his unusual talents. So far he’d levitated to the second row of windows in the old abandoned office building but he didn’t have a great head for heights so had to let himself slowly back down. He’d been able to throw a rock about sixty or seventy feet just by thinking it, probably about the same distance he’d have managed with his bare hands, and the biggest rock he managed to lift off the ground using the same thinking process to anywhere near a decent height, probably around ten or eleven foot, was about the size of a beach-ball. Anything bigger he’d only managed to nudge off balance. It’d seem his psychic abilities reflected about the same sort of strength of his natural physical ones. Floating up to the second storey of the office building had tired him out a little but he figured if he’d had to pick someone up who was about the same weight that he was and hold them up in the air with his arms and not his mind for the couple of minutes he’d kept himself afloat that would probably have taken the same amount of exertion and left him feeling pretty tired from that too. What he had learned from his experimentation though was that unlike if he’d been using his hands to throw stones he could only have launched as much as he could pick up and wouldn’t have been able to throw the hundreds, maybe even thousands of stones he could launch at once when using his mind and direct them so accurately. He’d been able to launch around two or three hundred at the old office building and separate them into around twenty groups, the same number of the amount of windows and shower them through the remains of the glass that the local kids had already smashed doing the same thing but in a much less glamorous and spectacular manner. Not one of them hit the wall either. They all went exactly where they were meant to like tiny heat seeking missiles.
Mikey did his best to understand this ability but one of the other big things that was eating away at him, it could even be the one question that pushed his buttons more than the others was ‘why me?’. What had happened that had brought this phenomenon on in him? He wasn’t quite sure when it had started until he started to really think about it. He did have distinct memories of being able to reach out for things from being very young, pulling his toys towards him. He remembers his mother telling her friends stories reasonably regularly, and about how she had no idea how, when he was a toddler that his toys would manage to get into his cot and playpen that as far as she’d been able to remember had been across the other side of the room at the time. Her friends had laughed and nodded and made jokes about ghosts and poltergeists and that perhaps she lived in a haunted house but Mikey remembers the look on Auntie Debbie’s face when he’d dropped the blue bucket that stood on top of the kitchen units on her head when she’d suggested that his mom was making all these things up because ‘since she got you know what-ed she did drink rather a lot in the afternoons’. Mikey was a little too young to understand what that meant but he knew enough to figure out that she wasn’t being kind about his mother. And when that bucket hit her square on her crown she really did look as though she’d seen a ghost. That’ll teach her. Stupid cow. He must have only been about four years old back then and if the toys that shouldn’t have were appearing in his playpen, well, that meant he was moving things around when he was less than one. It would seem Mikey had carried this gift with him since birth. So it wasn’t something he’d done to bring it on. Not like in the superhero movies where they get bitten by a spider or they’re trapped in a radioactive laboratory that triggers their gifts. He was most likely born with this as far as he could figure out.
He’d spent a lot of time carefully watching his little sister to see if she could do the same things, he’d even tried testing her, thinking that perhaps her reactions would give her away but when he’d pushed that tennis ball at her using his own ability, and he flung it pretty damn quick too, he wanted it to surprise her into deflecting it with her mind or stopping it mid-flight like he could have done, but she didn’t. Nope – it hit her square in the face, hard enough to give her a nose-bleed too. Poor Mikey felt so guilty he kept sneaking the pocket money from the piggy banks they both had, each with their names painted on the sides in their mothers writing, from his to hers. He thought that if she could afford to buy herself the outfit for her Barbie she kept talking about a little quicker than planned then the happiness it would bring might just go some way to appeasing his guilty conscience. He was more careful in future trying to figure out if she carried any of the abilities he owned and due to his being careful he hadn’t been able to really push anything as hard as he wanted to surprise her enough to invoke a proper reaction. As far as he could see though she was just a regular little girl. Nothing spooky there. No tales from his mother about her cot, pram or playpen filling up with toys from across the room. Nope. Not a one. So as far as Mikey was concerned, for the time being that ruled her out. What this meant to Mikey though, as far as his deductions went, was that it perhaps wasn’t passed on through his mother’s genetics or if it was part of her gene pool then it was capable of skipping other family members and saving them from this torture. Mikey and Lucy had different dads, their mom had told them that while they were still little and that neither father had stuck around for either of them to get to know. His mom called him, her and Lucy The Three Musketeers. They didn’t need anyone else. They were fine just as they were she told them but Mikey often wondered if things would be different if he’d had a dad to talk to. The only idea he had about his father was from when he once overheard his mom talking to Aunt Meg in the kitchen, he was tucked behind the door where they couldn’t see him, eavesdropping on their conversation. His mom and Aunt Meg had glasses of wine so they were talking A LOT and his mom was pretty upset about something. She was crying big deep sobs and she seemed pretty angry and upset to Mikey. Aunt Meg was doing her best to make her feel OK again. He liked Aunt Meg. His mom was going over a story Aunt Meg must have heard before because she was saying things like “Yes, it’s not fair, such awful things shouldn’t happen to good people”, “none of this is your fault” and “I know it must be awful to live with such a thing each and every day, people like that shouldn’t be able to get away with forcing themselves on whoever they feel like, they need castrating, the dirty bastards, if I ever find out who it was I’ll cut his fucking cock off.” Mikey’s mom was still crying and she told Aunt Meg that even though she’ll never really be right with anything ever again at least the only silver lining from such a repulsive, horrific and frightening experience was that she got Mikey out of it, and her little Mikey was the loveliest kid in the world.
At this Mikey was at all sorts of sixes and sevens. He snuck back up to his room to go over what he’d just heard. He hated the idea that somebody had hurt his mom and that hurt wasn’t going away anytime soon by the looks of things but it warmed him to know how much she loved him and how special he was to her. He wondered if she’d still love him if she knew he was a freak that could pick things up and put things down using just his thoughts and his mind – if she could still love him knowing that he was some kind of weirdo that belonged in a circus. It’s best she doesn’t know he thought. I’ll just have to be careful so she doesn’t find out.
The one thing Mikey’s mother didn’t understand or even know about her assailant that night; and let’s not beat around the bush here, let’s call a spade a spade, the one thing Mikey’s mother didn’t know about that bastard who’d raped her, was that he was afflicted in the very same way we’ve been led to understand from the passages in the bible where we read how the Devil started out as one of God’s most favoured angels, that he fell from grace and changed his ways, and that by turning bad, becoming wicked, becoming evil, his actions and everything that followed on from that point created such a very different beast – a demon, one that changed the path of the entire human race. That fall from grace probably created the worst monster of all time.
It’s not just angels that can flee their heaven and become monsters – this is the one piece of information that would answer all of Mikey’s questions if he knew it, and the one important thing that his mother didn’t know about her assailant, it’s not just angels that fall from grace and do such terrible things – it’s fairies too.