Walking in Slow Motion

Axi is just a normal girl in a gifted family. She isn't amazingly pretty, or intelligent, or popular. She's just a girl who gets bullied in school because her sister's dating the most dreamed-about guy there: and he's two years old than her.
Then she meets Seymour, a friend she never knew was always right beside her. When their teacher walks out of class, Axi begs him to teach her film editing-- a talent nobody in her family has.
But Seymour's teaching brings a new responsibility. In the middle of her first editing session, Axi discovers that she has skills. Special skills. Supernatural skills...
Who is Axi? WHAT is she? And will she ever be the same again...?
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6. Negotiations

After the staring has stopped, everyone logs onto Facebook, completely ignoring Mr. Mossly's wifi comment, and "celebrating" what people are already calling "The Teach-Ditch". Completely original, I know.

Right now, I don't know what I am feeling. Mostly upset, though. If Mr. Mossly really wanted to help me and Seymour... why hadn't he stayed and just taught us? If he was really proud of us...

I think Cassandra just pushed him over the edge. In which case, I understand. I have been bullied by her far too many times to just brush Mr. Mossly's dramatic exit away.

I feel a touch on my arm. Slightly startled, I turn to face Seymour. His sad eyes reflect my desperate expression as he says, "I can teach you."

"Really? You know...?" I gesture to the computer.

"Yeah," he says, smiling slightly. "One of my favourite hobbies is studying and editing films."

"Me too," I say. "Well, not yet. But I just know it will be, once I know how."

Seym's face twists into a strange expression. "You've... never done this before?"

"N-no," I stammer, frowning. "Is there something wrong with that? And I thought you would know and all, seeing as you just offered to teach me."

"Change of plans," Seym mutters, not looking at me.

"What? You're not going to teach me? WHY?"

Seym turns his back on me, muttering something about not beginning the process.

"Process? What... Seym, if you have a secret, that's okay, but please teach me! I really want to be able to do something my sisters can't."

Seym doesn't move.

"Seym, please. You have no idea how much I want..." I run my hands through my hair in frustration. There is simply no way to describe this longing I have, this craving for a skill, a talent that will be mine and mine alone to wield...

I reach out. "Seym..." My fingers brush his shoulder.

I can see an invisible shudder pass through him. Nothing happens for a long moment. Then he turns to me. "Perhaps it's for the best," he sighs.

"Thank you." I want to hug him, but I don't think that would go down well. We exit our classroom, missed by no-one, and sit down in an empty one diagonally across the hall from it.

"Okay," Seym says, suddenly businesslike. "Where do you want me to start? iMovie or Final Cut Pro?"

"Errrrr..."

"iMovie," Seym decides, grinning impishly. "Definitely iMovie."

I sit back in my chair while Seym leans over to my computer and clicks on an icon. The screen fills up with an app. "This," Seym declares, gesturing with the mouse, "is iMovie, Apple's basic--but still awesome-- movie editing software. I'll show you what it all does with a practical."

He clicks on a plus sign. Up comes a screen with many different movie templates on it. "You can make trailers?" I feel a small firework of excitement graze my stomach.

"Yeah," says Seym. "But for now, I think we'll just stick to no template." He selects the option, names the file and we're in. Ready to become homemade movie stars.

"So," says Seym, "how about you and I film a quick clip, then I'll show you how to edit it?" I nod in agreement, and Seym clicks on a symbol of a filming camera. He clicks Capture, OK, and then sits back.

I gesture towards the screen. "Is it filming?" Seym nods.

I clap my hand over my mouth. "Oops. Um, hi." I uncover my mouth and wave at the camera, smiling nervously. "Um, I don't know why I'm feeling so nervous," I laugh, "I'm not usually like this." I make a face at the camera to break the ice. Break the ice? This camera isn't a person!

I suddenly had a weird sensation that someone was actually watching me on a screen at this very moment.

"Er... Seym... you say something." I shove him in front of me.

"Hi," says Seym. He makes a goofy face. "This is Axi's first time filming and editing on a laptop, and I'm her teacher..." He straightens an imaginary bow tie and coughs. "Ahem."

I giggle. "Hey, move over, you camera hog."I shove my face into the camera, next to Seym's.

"So yeah, I'm the fantastically fashionable Axi, and this monkey here is Seym, my teacher and friend."

"That's Mr. Heath to you." Seym strokes an imaginary moustache.

"Yeah, like I said, this is Seym." I laugh, and Seym shoves me offscreen, where I continue to giggle.

"So anyway..." Seym straightens and assumes a dignified pose. "Farewell."

He presses STOP just as I slam into him and knock him offscreen. We tussle for a while, then fall off our chairs and onto the floor, laughing.

"Okay... okay..." Seym picks himself off the floor and walks back to the computer. He clicks DONE and we return to the main screen of iMovie.

"So, there's our film." He shows me a long strip of images, stored in an "event" named AXI'S FIRST FILM. "We drag it into the editor, and then..."

Seym shows me the basics of editing, purposely making it into a long and boring lecture. I constantly try to stop him talking and actually let me do things. Finally, he says, "Okay, Axi, that's the basics, but if you want to learn more now..."

"No. No. NO." He laughs and lets me begin to edit.

I become immersed in editing. I mess with the sound, making our voices an octave higher than usual. I change the exposure and contrast, and mess with the film effect, so that the image looks like it came from an early 20th century film. I tell Seym to get of the chair for a moment and film the room with nobody in it, then overlap it with the previous film, so that Seym and myself look transparent, like ghosts.

Finally, I sit back, having watched two crazy 20th-century drunk-on-helium ghosts mess with each other twice in a row. I turn my head away from the screen and blink my eyes, letting them adjust to the real world.

I blink again.

And again.

And again.

I can't believe what I am seeing.

I am no longer in my classroom.

I am on a busy street. People with high pitched voices greet each other everywhere around me. It's like a gathering of chipmunk people in black and white.

And... they're not just wearing black and white.

The place is black and white. Like... it's come out of an old movie.

And is this... the 20th century?

I'm the world of my film.

Seymour never said anything about this.

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