23. Mutation Demonstration
Once, we are in the large training room, the professor explains that we are now to demonstrate our abilities. He explains that he has positioned five balloons around the room, and we are each to pop one in a way that shows our mutation clearly. This sounds pretty cool actually!
Jean is instructed to go first. She steps forward and looks up to one of the balloons up near the ceiling of the room. It quickly moves towards her, and, once it is a meter or so from her face, she closes her eyes. She furrows her brow slightly in concentration. The balloon pops suddenly, making us jump. The group applaud her and she smiles. I have to admit, that was pretty impressive.
Bobby steps up next. I am intrigued to see the nature of his mutation. His expression is hard with concentration and focus. He points his palms towards the ground and a torrent of ice flows from them. I gasp at his magnificent skill. The ice before him makes a path and he slides across it with ease, over to a blue balloon in the far left corner of the room. He retrieves the balloon and glides back to stand in front of us. We all watch intently as he holds the balloon out before him. I've begins to entrap the rubber until it appears as just a ball of ice. Bobby taps it lightly with his finger and it shatters over his hand. Woah! The group claps again.
Warren steps forward next. Like Jean, he chooses one of the balloons set up high near the ceiling. He spreads his snow white wings and my jaw falls again at their beauty. He must have at least a four meter wingspan. A hand lifts my chin, so to close my gaping mouth.
"They're just wings, Evelyn." Scott whispers, his lips close to my ear. Is he jealous? Does he think I like Warren? I smirk to myself at the thought.
I watch the boy in front of me fly seamlessly up to the high ceiling of the training room and take the balloon in his hands. He looks down at us and pushes on either side of the balloon. It pops loudly. More applause.
I push Scott forward, hoping that no one will notice me and that I won't have to show my ability. He laughs slightly.
"Okay, okay." He turns to smile at me before stepping forward.
He takes a secure stance and turns his head slightly to the right, to see where the fourth balloon is positioned. He raises his left hand to his face. I haven't seen him use his visor yet, so I am tense with anticipation. His fingers push in the side of his visor and the now somehow familiar red beam shoots from his eyes and the balloon vanishes. I smile slightly with pride. That's my boyfriend.
He steps back as we applaud his skills. I grin at him and he returns a sweet smile.
"Show us what you can do, Evelyn." Bobby calls. We only met this morning. How is he this comfortable around me already?
"Go on." Scott whispers to me gently. "You're amazing."
I take a deep breath and step forward. What if I go wrong? I focus on the last remaining balloon. What if I hurt someone? I swing my hair, the subtle warmth returning. What if I can't control it? The gasps and mutters behind me feel a million miles away as I run my right hand through my hair. I stare at the balloon in front of me. It is in the centre of the back wall, tied to a metal crate of some sort. I take another deep breath and bring my arm back. Come on, I can do this! Before I can change my mind, I fling my arm forward and watch in slow motion as the ball of flames speeds across the room. It hits its target. I smile to myself, before noticing that flames have caught around where the balloon was secured. Shit! I push my hand out in front of me and watch as the flames in the room retreat into my palm. I sigh with relief, before closing my eyes and allowing myself to become and the fire within my hair to die down.
Once I am almost certain the flames have gone, I turn to the group. They all stand smiling and clapping, which makes me automatically grin in return.
"Next task of the day," the professor says, smiling again. "We need to work on protecting your identities. Masks will do nothing if you’re referring to each other using your real names."
"So, what? We're gunna get secret identities?" Warren asks, mindlessly fiddling with his gloves.
"In a way, yes. You're next task is to identify new names for each other. Mutant aliases, if you will."