A newborn wakes up and discovers hos new world...
1. Chapter 1
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I woke up at night.
Or was it day? Looking around, I realized that my room was not swathed in shadow as it usually was. I could see everything laid out as usual, every book where I had thrown it Friday, every article of clothing either spilling out of a drawer or somewhere on the floor. All of it was rendered in the most exact detail, and in realizing that I realized that I did not have my glasses on. Curious.
I could also hear all of the sounds of the night (day?) throughout the house. Water, running through the pipes. A mouse in the attic, making small scuffling noises as it searched for whatever there was to be found up there. And I could hear the wind outside as well, blowing through the fall leaves. I noticed the small “pop” as a leaf tore loose from its branch, could almost feel it rustle as it hit the ground. These extrasensory inputs were fascinating, almost unnerving in their exactness.
I tried to remember how I had become this way, being able to see where I shouldn’t be able to see and hear what I shouldn’t be able to hear. Checking the rest of my senses, I noticed nothing else amiss. I saw that it was five-thirty in the morning, and I groaned internally. Why did I always wake up so early? Was it too much to ask of myself to let me actually sleep in past the usual time on a Saturday? I glanced at my watch again, this time noticing that I could read the time without needing to turn on the backlight. Another unexplained oddity. Then, as if that thought jolted me into reality, I noticed three things and remembered one more.
One, the date on my watch read that it was Monday. Two, I could not hear my heartbeat, which was unprecedented. I had always been able to feel and hear that very well, especially when I was lying still. I remembered that the sounds I had heard were not from anyone in the house, because my parents were away on business again. They would arrive back here on Wednesday. And the last thing I noticed was…
I wasn’t breathing.
Instantly, I sucked in a lungful of air through both mouth and nose, wondering if I was having some out of body experience what with my nonexistent heartbeat and the impossible date on my watch. I had NEVER slept for two entire days before. Hell, I couldn’t remember when I had slept for ten hours in the last few years. As soon as the air entered my lungs, I knew something was seriously different. It registered with my system, but it didn’t feel at all like the breath of life I had been expecting. I continued to breathe despite that, smelling my surroundings. It was intriguing, because I picked up many scents that had been invisible before whatever had happened to me had happened. I could now smell the water flowing through the pipes as I had heard, tainted faintly with rust. Even more interesting was the sensation of tasting the scent, in a way. Experimenting, I breathed through my mouth alone. All of the scents abruptly diminished but did not disappear, similar to the way a window shade limits but does not stop light from coming into a room. Light still comes through that window, just as what I smelled now became what I tasted.
Strange as they were, I still pondered my various lack of body functions. I created a mental list of what could have caused this. Death? No, I was obviously still capable of thought, as well as the use of my senses. A dream, perhaps?
That seemed likely. I moved my right hand over to my left forearm, so I could pinch myself and wake up. As it moved, my arm caught the moonlight that streamed through the crack in the windowshade. I froze, again confounded by myself.
My arm was completely white, and reflected the light in a strange way. This was impossible as well, since the tan I had from the summer had not yet faded away as it usually does. I marveled at it, turning it, examining it with my newly sensitive eyes. It was flawlessly white, like snow, but had the faint sheen of marble. Distracted from my original purpose, I ran my other hand over it. It was neither hot nor cold, the perfect temperature. It was also perfectly smooth, like polished ice with just a bit of water on the top, providing the absence of friction.
Focus, idiot, I berated myself, remembering that this was basically a dream and that I probably needed to wake up sometime or another. I reverted to my original plan, and went to grab a pinch of skin. My fingers, however, didn’t agree. They simply slid right over my arm.
Annoyed, I went for it more aggressively. But my fingers slid off again.
I was really ticked now. Was this some weird part of my subconscious trying to let me dream longer? I swiftly dug my fingers into my skin and raked them across my entire forearm, knowing that this would work.
Instead of waking me from my fanciful dream an earsplitting shriek sounded, practically splitting my ears in two. The sound was so sudden and so out of place given my surroundings, I instantly found myself bolt upright, teeth bared and muscles taut, ready to beat the hell out of whatever it was that had made that infernal noise. I abruptly realized that it was me, and that hurting myself would be rather stupid. I slowly relaxed, still alert, and looked at my arm.
It was the same as before, except for four parallel scratches extending from my wrist down to near my elbow. Looking closer, I saw what resembled wood shavings curled up into little spirals at the end of each track in my arm. Calmer now, I wondered what those things were. Without really considering the absurdity of my actions, I tried to smooth out the tight bunches of whatever-it-was back into the grooves in my ski-
That was my skin that I had torn out of myself. My skin?!
There was nothing for it. Still shocked I smoothed them back over my cuts, and watched as the skin shavings settled back into the grooves… and disappeared.
Wow. That’s something you don’t see every day.
After contemplating that, I realized that I must have not been dreaming, both because I had already woken up and because the sound my fingers had made as they cut through my skin would have woken up even the deepest of sleepers as if someone had stabbed a soldering iron through their foot. So that was out of the question.
I was left with almost no other options. I was either crazy, or all this was actually real. I paced around my room, wondering yet again what was going on. Worried, I grabbed my drumsticks and began beating out the first pattern that came to mind on my desk, a triplet roll pattern that had stuck in my head from a year ago. The familiar pattern locked my mind into it, tuning everything else out. When it finished, I played it again, a little harder this time. It was better than I usually played it, perfectly in time with the imaginary metronome in my head, the rebound of the stick well controlled for the doublebeats. I added a crescendo to the end, and cracked the stick down with a decent amount of force onto the top of my desk.
The stick ricocheted off in pieces, one towards my chest. Alarmed, I tensed, too surprised to move out of the way as it spiraled upwards and struck me straight in my unbeating heart…
I felt the impact, not like a javelin as I had expected, but only as if I had been tapped on the chest. The stick had a different version of the impact. It instantly splintered in a mess of wood fibers, as if it had tried to embed itself in a brick wall.
Wow. I'm really strong too?
I was impressed and surprised, but also curious. With my apparent strength and imperviousness of my skin, I decided to try something more dangerous. Excited, I ran out of my room and shot downstairs, to the knife block in the kitchen.
When I stopped, a gust of air blew past me, sending the pages of a magazine on the counter fanning around. Yet again, I amazed myself. The speed at which I had moved from my room to where I was should have been impossible. Now that I thought about it, it had taken the lesser part of a second to go from place to place. Grinning, I grabbed a knife from the block and flipped it into the air like a drumstick, watching it become a windmill of flashing metal in the air. I followed the trajectory easily, though it was spinning as fast as a car tire does on an expressway. I caught it and in one fluid motion, attempted to sink it into my arm.
It shattered like the drumstick had, pieces flying everywhere. It had no more effect on my skin than the stick had, feeling more like pine needles as fragments slammed into my skin. I stood, shocked, letting the bent shaft of the blade fall from my hand. Did this really just happen?
Damn. I’m good.
Glancing down, I saw the shaft still falling, maybe a third of the way to the floor. My hand flashed down to grab it so fast it was almost invisible. Or would have been, if I had normal eyes. Driven by a sudden urge, I squeezed my fist around the handle, slowly increasing my force. To my delight, the metal began to crumple almost instantly. I held it there for a moment, then squeezed with all of the newfound force contained within my hand. The steel compressed easily, like a piece of paper. I then held it in one hand and used the other as well, like I was making a snowball, and squeezed. The resulting lump was half as big as it had started out. I ran to the front door, opened it, got outside, and closed it in a fraction of a second. Then, winding up, I chucked the ball of steel as hard as I could between the houses. It went off, and was out of sight within a second.
As I acknowledged my new abilities a force began to build inside my body, spreading from where my heart should have been outward to my limbs. The feeling had been building since I had first shot from my room to the kitchen, but due to my other preoccupations I had not noticed it until now. I shuddered involuntarily as my limbs began to vibrate, accepting this newfound strength. I could practically see it, this raw power that rolled through me in waves. Closing my eyes, I waited until it felt like I would be drowned by those waves… and then opened them.
It was a statement, an exclamation, and a confirmation. Whatever had happened to me, had given me all of this, was welcome. Marshalling the energy rolling through me, I contained it, then channeled it into my legs.
I would run. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew full well that whatever lay ahead of me was far more exciting than anything else I had ever done or planned to do. Armed with that knowledge, I shot off the porch, running down the road at an incredible pace.
I followed my feet, blazing past my surroundings. A fierce joy entered my thoughts, accompanied by wonder. My sight did not diminish as I ran even faster, able to pick out every piece of gravel in the roadbed. Counting them, I reached two thousand in no time at all. On a whim I veered off the road, through the lawns and backyards of anyone’s house I went by. A few dogs were stirring at this early hour, but even when I went straight through their territory they did not even register seeing or smelling me. Only one, a bloodhound, even registered my presence. This one’s head rose from the ground where he had been resting, confused, which was all I saw as I flashed by. Looking back, I watched as he sniffed at the air for a moment, then laid his head back down to rest.
I ended up in the forest, darting between trees more skillfully than a deer. I aimed upward, to gain some high ground and to try and see my surroundings better.
Realizing the absurdity of that statement, and wanting to test myself even more, I changed course. I shot sideways into a tree, climbing up its branches to the very top. There, I stopped for a moment. I could now see the contours of the land much better, and after examining my surroundings I shot off again towards the taller trees on the higher ground. Swinging from limb to limb for a few minutes, I reached the highest point I could find and stopped there.
My previous haste deserted me, but the power that fueled me seemed to remain undiminished from my travels. I knew I could continue as soon as I wanted, but I stayed where I was. I examined my surroundings, slowly this time, taking in the beauty of the trees that surrounded me. And then, looking to the east… the sea, and an impending sunrise.
I stopped moving, suddenly tense as I waited for the slowly intensifying glow of the sun behind the earth to become blinding reality. Time seemed to slow, and I held my breath as I sensed it coming closer, closer…
The sun broke over the water, throwing brilliant rays of light against the morning dew, lighting up the colors of the trees in their autumn glory. I watched as the dew refracted the light, throwing rainbows everywhere. Or namely, everywhere near me…
This was just another new thing, but it surprised me just as much as the others. Everything within twenty feet of me was suddenly shimmering with rainbows, coming from a single source: my skin. The sunlight changed it from its marble appearance, and it now looked like a diamond. The many facets of this diamond caught the light and shot it off everywhere around me. I watched, entranced.
I stood there, in a tree, on top of the world, reveling in my power. Nothing else existed. There was only me, and whatever I could do with my seemingly limitless abilities, and that was all I thought or cared about for a very long time.