It's Your Life
Paulina watched Lilly shoulder the cooler effortlessly and then with a single leap she was gone, arcing into the air and disappearing into the night sky. Pauling watched Lilly for as long as she could, just a few seconds really, and then looked at the, for lack of a better word, crater that she left in the dirt where she once stood.
Even though Paulina had abilities, they were not nearly as obvious or flashy as so many of the other KEYs. At best she looked very lucky, and even though she could change the weather, it was exactly clear that she was doing it. Outward expressions of power, like those Lilly had, somewhat enraptured the young woman.
Carefully she tucked the receipt Lilly had given her into her pocket and then looked around. She had a vision earlier and saw the possibility of meeting Lilly, so she had begun walking. She had never met another KEY before, and even the rose garden press conference had surprised her. Pauline had thought she was alone, but then on the tv were others like her. So when the chance to meet another came up, she took it, even if it meant a long walk into the Pryor Mountains... alone... in the cold.
Okay, so that part sucked, but it turned out to be worth it. Meeting another KEY was worth it, and in a way a bit refreshing, to see that other KEYs were still just people with the same problems that everybody else had, despite their amazing abilities.
Now though, she was out in the middle of nowhere and it would be a good walk back home. Zipping her jacket up and tucking her hands into the pockets, Paulina set out for home, winding her way amid the brush, rocks and small meadows with her wisps of her breath trailing in the air in a evanescent trail behind her.
After a time the lights of houses came into view, drawing ever closer as she continued to plod along. She spotted her own house and noted the fire in the pit out back. In the small island of light cast by the flames Paulina could make out the form of her uncle, Vincent, lounging in a simple chair and nursing a beer.
Stepping out of the darkness, Paulina waved to him.
"Hey nunkie." she said casually and walked over to one of simple wooden benches near her uncle where she took a seat.
Vincent glanced at her, looking her over to make sure his niece was okay, and then nodded to her. "Where have you been?" he asked casually, though with a hint of concern.
"You know, just out for a walk." she replied. "I made a friend though. Or at least I think so."
"Out for a walk, alone, in the cold and dark? Yeah, I remember the 'friends' I would meet up with in those circumstances. I was a teen too, you know, and snuck out that window my fair share of times."
"Not like that. She was.. you know... like me." Paulina clarified as she fished out the 'road beer' Lilly had left her, and twisted off the cap.
"Hey. You're too young. You know that." her uncle chastised as he took the bottle from her hand, causing Paulina to let out a mirthful laugh.
"It's just root beer." she chuckled, prompting her uncle to take a sniff at the opened bottle.
"Oh." he said, somewhat embarrassed. "Alone out in there and she gave you root beer? Heh. I like her already." he mused and handed the bottle back to niece. "So.. like you, eh?"
"Yeah. She was actually one of them the President introduced in the rose garden. She was cool though. Just wanted to think and enjoy the sunset. Oh, and the mountains are named after a ancestor of her's too." Paulina explained and then took a swig off of her bottle.
"A Pryor, eh?"
"Yeah. She was cool though. We talked and little and watched the sunset. Did you know that they are all actual friends? Kinda odd how a group of friends got... abilities... and yet here I am, the only on the reservation with them, apparently."
"Well, it might be a good idea for you to keep them a secret. You can imagine how they must be hounded."
"I know. It's just... she said something. Mentioned it, really. She said that I could help feed people and save lives, by shifting rain from flood areas to crop fields that need rain. If I practiced, and got better at it, I could maybe warn of disasters ahead of time, or even help people in the moment."
Vincent looked at his niece silently. She was all he really had, and he had always done his best to protect her, but on another level, he was also a bit proud to hear her talking like she was, thinking about using her gifts to help people. The thought still scared him though. He had already lost his parents and more or less his sister. He could not bear to lose her too.
"Huh." was all he responded with, not really revealing anything.
"She said she and her friends could help me, even if I did not want to join their team. They could still help me learn to use my abilities and help me used them to help people."
"How.. you know... how do you do what you do anyways?"
"It's like... as best as I can explain it is to think of time as a path we all go down. The past is behind us, the present is the step you are taking, and the future is before you. But when I use my abilities, I can see the path. I can look behind, and see the past, but I can also look further down the path to see the future, but things up ahead can be hard to see. If I focus on a moment, then I can see the path fork, like infinitely, with each route being a possible outcome of the next moment or event.
At that moment, time seems to slow down for me, I guess, and I can look down the different paths of the possible outcomes, but I cannot see them all. Then I can pick which path at the fork in the road I want to go down. I am not always able to pick to the path myself, though, so sometimes I am forced down a path I did not pick, or I just make a mistake. It's like making a decision in a split second, without tie to really think about it. The more I practice, the more I can see though, and the better I get at picking.
Like, even right now, I am always kind of looking ahead, but with just part of my attention, so mainly I just notice danger."
"You have 'Spider Sense'?" Vincent asked, his face a mixture of surprise and confusion.
"Yeah, more or less. No wall crawling or anything though." she said with a small shrug and a smile.
"Huh. Well, I am your uncle, but I am not going to tell you what Ben said to Peter. You do not need to be pushed or guilted into anything. I would be perfectly happy with you graduating and going off to college." he said matter-of-factly before adding, "...and maybe taking a trip with your uncle to Las Vegas from time to time." with an amused grin, which caused Pauline to laugh, almost snorting out her root beer through her nose.
"I am not going to stop you, either. You are not the little girl I took in anymore, even as much as I wish you were sometimes. You're an intelligent, beautiful young woman now, and need to make your own decisions. Nobody can live your life but you. Either way I would be just as proud to see you helping and saving people as I would be to see you getting your college degree." Vincent said with a hint of pride in his voice and eyes.
"Maybe I could do both?" Pauline responded with a smile.
Vincent rose up out of his chair and leaned over, planting a kiss atop Paulina's head. "I'm sure you could." he said and then straightened up.
"Either way, I am heading in. It's too damned cold for me out here. And don't you stay out here too long yourself. You still have school tomorrow." he reminded as he turned to face the house. He then paused and recited, "The past is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But each day is a gift. That is why it is called 'The Present'."
"Is that a tribal saying or something?" she asked, curiously.
"Nah. It's from Kung-Fu Panda or some shit." he answered with a grin, which caused Paulina to laugh again, a sound he would never get tired of. He then turned and began to walk toward the backdoor of the house.
"More." he said over his shoulder to his niece who responded, "More!" in kind.
Paulina watch her nunkie walk inside and then sat on the bench for some time, looking at the flame, seeing all the possible ways it could dance as she thought about future, instead of looking into it.