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Fantasticoe 2010 Contents

Negative Energy

Catherine Lane


          Kaitlynn's mother, Alyssa, always knew her daughter was different. Ever since Kaitlynn's dad disappeared strange things began to happen around the house when Kaitlynn was happy or excited or energized. The two of them were on their own and with all the sadness that could bring, Kaitlynn was determined to stay happy. That's how Kaitlynn's magic worked--with the power of her positivity. She was the light of Alyssa's life.

          "Kaitlynn?" Alyssa trudged out of her bedroom to see her teenage daughter awake and cooking breakfast in the kitchen.

          "Oh, hey mom. I just thought I'd get you off to a good start this morning. How'd you sleep?" Kaitlynn turned to face her mom with a smile on her face. The room warmed up instantly.

          "Great, thanks." Alyssa slid into a chair at the kitchen table.

          "Coffee?"

          "Yes please."

          Kaitlynn pulled a coffee mug out of the cupboard and held it in her left hand. With two fingers on her right hand she snapped and the mug was filled with coffee instantaneously.

          "Thank you honey," said Alyssa as she sipped the warm coffee.

          "No problem, mom. I have to get going though."

          "You're walking?"

          "I thought it'd be nice. I know it's snowing…"

          "You'll wear a jacket?" Alyssa wasn't worried about her daughter getting cold—the power Kaitlynn had inside of her always kept her warm—but her maternal instincts still kicked in.

          "Of course, mom. Whatever makes you happy." Kaitlynn leaned over and kissed her mother on the forehead. "Will you pick me up after school?"

          "Of course I will. See you at three."

          Most 15-year-olds would dread walking to school in the snow, let alone have to wake up before 6AM to get there on time. Kaitlynn, however, loved getting up before the sun. She loved making breakfast and surprising her mother with a hot meal on a cold morning. Kaitlynn knew it was only the two of them, now. She had gotten used to it and loved her mother more than life itself. She appreciated all the support she got from her friends at her old school, but she knew she didn't need it. Kaitlynn's magic worked with her positive energy and that could only come from within. Once she accepted the disappearance of her father her magic began to strengthen.

          When Kaitlynn finally reached her school she felt its energy wash over her. It was warm, positive, reaffirming, and peaceful. It was all anyone could ever ask for in a school, but there was a twist. This school wasn't like any other school. Kaitlynn didn't come to learn math and English. Nor did she come to learn about science and art. She came for the magic and, if she were allowed, she would be proud to admit that. This school was important to her. It found her; it called to her. This was the place Kaitlynn could fine tune her powers. This is where she could make sure she would stay positive for the rest of her life.

          As Kaitlynn walked into the building she felt something different than the normal happy-go-lucky vibe. It felt almost...dangerous. She could tell her peers felt it too. They all looked around, trying to pick out and unfamiliar face in the crowd. But everyone looked the same as they always had. Maybe a little more tired, but the same nonetheless.

          Kaitlynn walked up to her classmate, Jacquelyn. "What's going on?" Kaitlynn asked.

          "What do you mean?" Jacquelyn stared at her blankly.

          "Do you feel okay? You look kind of tired…" Kaitlynn was prying Jacquelyn for information. She wanted to know where this feeling was coming from—who this feeling was coming from.

          "Tired? Yeah, I'm tired. Very tired." Jacquelyn's eyes started to droop. Her body got limp and Kaitlynn had to hold her up.

          "Jacquelyn , you have to stay awake, do you hear me? Stay awake for me." Kaitlynn tapped her gently on the face.

          "What? Oh, yeah, yeah. Stay awake…" Jacquelyn pulled herself off of Kaitlynn and began to walk away. "I feel fine, you know. I really do." She turned her back to Kaitlynn and walked straight down the hall. Kaitlynn stood there, stunned. She hadn't a clue what just happened but was determined to find out before the end of the day.

          Kaitlynn saw a group of her closest friends and walked up to them. They were practicing their levitation, something Kaitlynn had yet to master. All her friends were older than her. She always felt like her mind was too mature for her body.

          "Hey guys!" Kaitlynn beamed as she walked up to them. "How're your mornings going?"

          A smattering of grunts and sighs came from the group. An outsider looking in would believe they were just focused on their lack of gravity, but Kaitlynn knew them better. They were all seniors, they'd been levitating since the 10th grade. It wasn't a skill they had to focus on anymore.

          Kaitlynn tugged at the shirtsleeve of one of her friends. "Cody? You can come down now…" All at once it seemed as if their personalities snapped back into place. Her friends landed their feet on the ground and all turned to face her.

          "Oh, hey, Kaitlynn," Cody said. "How's it hanging?"

          "I should probably be asking you that," Kaitlynn said softly. "You didn't look like yourself a second ago. What's going on here?"

          "I don't know, Kaitlynn, but it's starting to freak me out. We've all been here for hours already because of A-Period and it's like we're floating in and out of consciousness. There's something wrong with this school."

          "I know, I can feel it." Kaitlynn pulled her jacket tighter around her as if she could feel the negative energy penetrating her.

          "Just stay positive, okay? If anyone can make it through the day I know you can. We'll figure all this out later." Cody gave Kaitlynn a brotherly hug and turned to walk away. Around her, Kaitlynn's friends smiled and joked around as if the last five minutes never happened. She hugged them all and headed off to her first class.

          When classes began Kaitlynn couldn't shake the negative energy. It was all around her, like a negative bubble enclosed the school. It smelled like dirt, like rotting earth. Every color in the building seemed to darken. The morning light hardly streamed into the windows that seemed to be clouded. Kaitlynn tried to pay attention in her classes but she was too busy noticing the effects that the negative energy had on her peers to wrap her mind around her schoolwork.

          Kaitlynn knew she had to work through this. She had worked through everything else in her life and if she had to do this alone she would. She finally snapped back into reality and focused on the board. "That Magic Feeling" was the title of her notes. ‘Emotions' was her favorite class. She loved to discuss the way your feelings can impact your magic, seeing as how that's the only way her magic worked. ‘Ironic that we're talking about emotions right now,' Kaitlynn thought, ‘when no one in here can feel anything at the moment.'

          After class, Kaitlynn stopped to meet with one of her teachers. If the students didn't know what was going on, surely the teachers would. It must have been a test of some kind. Just last week the school shut off all the lights to challenge the students to make their way through the school in the dark. These were the kinds of things Kaitlynn liked to learn about. She liked to be thrown into real life situations and told to fix them, but when Kaitlynn approached her favorite teacher, Mr. Applebaum, she knew the school wasn't in on this.

          "I don't know what to tell you," Mr. Applebaum said. "I'm as lost as you are." His eyes were beginning to glaze and he stared off into space like he was searching for the answer in the air. "It's like…We're not ourselves anymore…We're something different…"

          "Mr. Applebaum, this isn't good! Everyone in the school is beginning to slip under. Is there anything we can do?" Kaitlynn was frantic, searching his eyes for any sign of help.

          "Do? No, I don't think we can do anything…Just don't worry about it. You're smart. You'll figure something out…" Kaitlynn stormed out of the room, angry and disappointed, but never sad. ‘I've got to find a way out of this,' she thought. ‘There must be something I can do…'

          By lunch, it had gotten overwhelming. Half the school walked around like zombies, an overpowering sadness in their eyes. Kaitlynn herself was losing control, but she fought hard. She felt her positive energy slipping away, as if something was taking a vacuum to her spirit. She knew this was something she had to face on her own. Without her positive energy she knew her mother wouldn't be able to stand. ‘Mom!' Kaitlynn thought. ‘I need to call my mom…She can come pick me up and get me out of this and tomorrow I'll come back and everything will be better.' A letter of excuse was the last thing on Kaitlynn's mind as she pulled out her phone and speed-dialed her mom. All she got was the busy signal. She tried, and tried, and tried but couldn't reach her mom—the snow storm three days before had knocked down all the phone lines.

          Kaitlynn's mother was always in the back of her head. Everything she did was to protect her; every move she made was to keep her mother from feeling the pain and sadness of her absent father. At times it got hard. She wanted to give up everything she worked towards and just let herself grieve. But grief changed a person. It made them vulnerable and weak, and Kaitlynn was neither of those.

          Kaitlynn tried to hold on for the rest of the day. She knew that if she overpowered the negative energy just once, it wouldn't be able to get into her again. But at this point resistance seemed futile. ‘Just this once...' Kaitlynn thought. ‘Just this once I'll let myself feel bad...let myself feel like a real teenager...' These thoughts had been racing through her mind all day and they increased as the negativity did. She wanted to hold on—so bad she wanted to hold on—but her powers were weakening. Kaitlynn heard stories about energy like this. It invaded a person and transformed them—transformed them into a different kind of witch. Not one that had control over her own powers, but one of the stereotypical witches that are seen on TV. Rude, mean, hateful, dirty, and worst of all—negative.

          Finally, resistance took more energy than she had. Kaitlynn felt her head sink and her body grow limp. Her eyes grew scratchy and her mouth had a kind of stale taste in it. She leaned against the wall and, although used to defying gravity, let her body fall to the floor. She huddled there in the corner, promising herself just one quick nap, but this dark being that had invaded her soul had other plans. She didn't want to become a "bad witch". She didn't want the green face, nose wart, and long stringy black hair but you can't always get what you want. As Kaitlynn drifted off to sleep she thought about her mother and her father and the life they had before he vanished. She thought about the way he would tuck her into bed and sing her to sleep. She thought about the look on her mother's face when she realized he was never coming back. It never seemed like her father's choice to leave, and now, no one would ever know. In spite of the negative energy Kaitlynn fell asleep with a smile on her face.

          When Kaitlynn fell it was like the rest of the school fell with her. The walls turned black, the windows turned opaque and the doors were sealed shut. The negativity was trapped, but so was everyone else. It seemed like a small price to pay at the time but in the end it was larger than life.

          After that, no one attended Kaitlynn's school—no one even knew about it. All the stories were labeled as fantasy and all the families somehow learned to let go—except for Kaitlynn's mother. She believed wholeheartedly in her daughter's powers. She knew her daughter was strong and wouldn't dare to believe that this energy could have captured her. In a strange way Kaitlynn's powers seemed to be passed onto her mother. The positivity stayed in her house and there was continuing hope that Kaitlynn—and her father—would return.