New 25-VII

Why’d She Have To Talk To Me Now?

I stared at the TV. “...every channel?” I whispered in horror.

“Well, not every,” Sabah replied with a grimace. “But pretty much all the ones that matter.”

Covering my mouth, I watched as the screen displayed an image of me, leaping off the train station platform. The quality was good enough that I could see the tears and scratches on me. “I’m dead,” I moaned out loud, flopping backwards onto my bed. “I’m so dead.”

“If it's any consolation?” Sabah slowly lowered herself down to sit next to me, the bed creaking slightly under her weight. “They don’t really know what you look like. It’s too dark, and too far away.”

“Doesn’t matter,” I groaned, staring at the ceiling. “Someone’s going to figure it out. You know what the internet is like. I’m going to have to move away. I’ve always wanted to live in San Francisco.”

“...national channels, Hannah.”

I squeezed my eyes shut. “Of course.”

Sabah patted me on the shoulder. “It’ll be okay, Hannah. And besides, you’re famous! Who doesn’t want to be famous?”

Silently, eyes still closed, I pointed both thumbs at myself.
“...yeah, that’s fair.” She flopped back beside me. “You know, there's an obvious solution to this.”

“What, become a hermit?” I paused, reconsidering. “Honestly, that's not a terrible idea.”

She laughed. “Not that, dingus. You could-” There was a sharp intake of breath.

“Sabah?” I asked, opening my eyes and sitting up. “What's-”

She grabbed the remote from where it sat next to me, and hammered the off switch, but not before-

“...I’m okay,” I managed to say at last. “I’m okay.”

“Hannah, I’m so sorry,” Sabah said, kneeling in front of me and holding my hands. “I didn’t think-”

“It’s not your fault.” I reached up and wiped the tears away from my eyes, sniffling a little. “What were you saying before?”

“Oh, um.” She took a moment to collect herself. “You should go to the Tower. Get yourself registered. They’ll help you ride this wave out.”

“Comet offered,” I admitted, “but… I can’t.”

“What? Why not?”

I looked down at the carpet. “They’re gone, Sabah.”

It took her a second to grasp what I was saying, but as soon as she did, her eyes shot wide.

“What do you mean, gone?”

I held up a hand and waved it around. “Gone gone. I’ve got nothing, just like before.”

She gaped at me. “That’s… that’s not how- what?”

I shrugged limply. “I don’t know how any of this works, so don’t look at me.”

She grabbed my hand, squeezing it urgently. “Hannah, you don’t understand. That doesn’t happen. Ever. Once you have powers, you have them for your entire life. Are you absolutely sure?”

I closed my eyes, reaching down into my core like I always did. For a second, I almost thought I felt something, some faint echo of the thrumming power that had been there, but if I did, it was gone a moment later. “There’s nothing.”

She shook her head, standing and starting to pace. “No, no,no, that's not right. Maybe it's just dormant.”

“I pushed it pretty far past what it was supposed to,” I offered. “Maybe I… burned it out?”

“Even if you did that to the most extreme degree possible, they’d just be dormant. And getting to that point would require…” She trailed off. “Well, anyway. If they’re acting up, that’s all the more reason to join up-”

“They’re not acting up, they’re gone. They’re not going to like that, they’re not going to be helpful. Without the powers I’m just a liability.”

“They wouldn’t… the Tower’s not…” She didn’t seem very convinced in herself. “What are you going to do then?”

“I…” I shook my head.

“I don’t know.”

Once she had left, with assurances that I was fine, I sat back down on the bed and stared at my hand. I closed my eyes, concentrated as hard as I could, and when I opened them again, it was just in time to see the tiniest wisp of lavender smoke curling up into the air.

I watched it dissipate away, then turned off the lights, crawled under the covers, and cried myself to sleep. 

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