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Aberrant: 2011 - Welcome To My Life


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“So do you think your dad is going to let you go on Friday?” An attractive young brunette asked her friend walking beside her. The two students of Westview High School walked home together on a typical day in December. There really wasn’t much to Avondale, the small but relatively successful, city in Maricopa County, Arizona was only seventeen thousand people large, and everybody knew everybody else. It was mostly dirt, mountains and dunes.

“I’m not sure, you know how my dad is.” Her friend replied letting her school bag slip from her shoulder and she swung it over to her other. “One day he wants to be my best friend and the next he’s trying to ruin my social life.”

“Hey! Jenna!” The ladies looked up and in the direction of the voice calling for the off-duty students. Brian Perry, the local Mr. Popular, was standing up in his parked Jeep, flagging her over with a waving hand.

With a sigh she grinned. “Let me see what he wants,” turning one-eighty on her heel, she began walking backwards to get a few last words in before seeing what Brian felt was so important. Gracefully she walked backward off the curb, clutching her books to her chest. “Gimme a call later, kay? I have to go with my mom later and…”

Staci, looked to her right, she reached out and screamed, “Jenna!” but the sound came too late.

Tires squealed marking the asphalt with a burning scar. A look of shock and fear quickly held Jenna in a strangle hold.

Her books fell from her arms and her world faded to black.

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Devin took in a deep breath as he sprang up from his bed. Almost hyperventilating the teenager sat there for a moment, his breaths deep and panicked. His fingers sifted tightly through his messy hair; swallowing hard he looked around to his sunlit bedroom.

“That dream again.” He mumbled sounding like a poorly narrated anime. He cast aside his bed covers and touched his feet to the floor sporting badly wrinkled Westview High School logoed sweat pants. Groggily he wandered out of his room, down the hall, and into the bathroom.

---Hey, how you doing? I’m not going to ask why you’re in my bedroom. You’re here, and I’m narrating my life, things can’t get any weirder, right? So, yeah, that’s me. Devin Jauntsen. I’m pretty much your average loser at Westview High. I live in Avondale, Arizona. To give you an idea of what it’s like in Avondale, imagine God going to the beach, getting sand in his crack, and when he shook it all away it fell upon the Earth and that became Avondale. Desert, mountains, and boredom, that’s about it.

Hot bod huh? Yeah, that’s because I’m a nova, just no one knows it, so don’t go spreading that around okay? But more on that later, for right now I’m trying to brush my teeth, do you mind?---

With a roll of the eyes and a tooth brush hanging frothily from his mouth Devin closed the door to the bathroom.

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The Jauntsen family sat for breakfast, as was common every morning before Devin and Jenna headed off to school and their father, Carl, went on to his job. Jenna clicked away at her OpPhone. It seemed like she spent more time chatting with her friends then she did paying attention to reality. Devin scribbled in a notebook, sketching, with almost perfect clarity, the image he was looking at on the back of the newspaper his father was reading.

Misti, Devin’s mother, slid half a skillet of scrambled eggs onto his plate. He looked up with a pleasant smile knowing he’d be hungry an hour later. He tapped the head of fork on his plate a few times, searching for a place to begin, finally zeroing in on a good a place as any he dug in.

“Damn novas.” Devin’s father spoke up, breaking the breakfast silence and giving cause for everyone to give a look in his direction. The newspaper shuffled and crinkled as he folded it over, and over again, before it was slapped down next to Devin. “See? This the garbage that passes for news these days Devin.”

His eyes scanned the page, a fork half hanging from his mouth. “Vegetarian murdered by rack of lamb?” He looked up puzzled.

“Keep reading smart ass.” The grin told Devin that his father was at least in a better mood than usual. “Sara ‘Tenor’ Meeks foils a 2.8 million dollar bank robbery, but causes 11 million dollars in damage. That woman is about as incompetent as they come.” It almost sounded like his dad had rehearsed it all morning. “These city defenders, who all just happen to be novas mind you, are nothing but a menace, eleven million in damage, and she gets paid almost three times that in a year and doesn’t have to shell out one bit.” His finger vigorously prodded the paper. “Not. One. Bit. You know who pays? We do Devin, the tax payers.”

---Okay, don’t wig out. He’s not a bad guy, my dad. He’s in private security. About three years ago he had a bid for a contract that would have been worth eight digits. Well, the client was considering going with a nova instead. It would have been more expensive to go with the nova, but my dad was able to convince them to go with his agency instead. Within the first week, a nova on the wrong end of the law hit the company. His people weren’t equipped to handle a nova threat. Needless to say the company pulled out on the contract, sued my dad’s company for a breech of contract: “failure to live up to the conditions set forth by the agreement”. It didn’t ruin him, but it’s really hampered his opportunities to get any other big contracts. Since then, he’s really hated novas…---

“Novas pay taxes too, Dad” Devin replied confidently, stuffing a fork of scrambled eggs into his mouth.

Misti sighed loud enough for everyone to hear. Every morning it was the same thing. Every morning it was like falling into an episode of Point-Counter Point at the breakfast table. “Devin, don’t instigate your father.” She shot him a look as if to say ‘I have to put up with him, so shut up.’

“Besides,” Jenna looked up from her chatting. “She’s a slave to Seattle, dad. Ever since she shattered the Second Narrows Bridge last year she’s had to work for free. Like it was her fault the guy who designed the bridge made it flimsy.”

Devin set his fork down. “It wasn’t flimsy Jenna, it shattered. It was made from ‘superglass’ and when Meeks used her powers, she shattered it. Apparently it was susceptible to the frequency her powers work on.” Jenna glared at him, as if her ‘dorkdar’ was going on full tilt. “What? I wiki’d it when the story came out last year.”

“Screw you Devin.” She said with raised eyebrows. “You’re such a dork.”

“Sounds flimsy to me then. And your brother is not a dork.” Their father said pulling the paper back to him. “This world is growing to reliant on novas. We’re growing weak, and complacent, shame really.”

As was common, Misit intervened. “Time for school you two,” she leaned down and kissed their father. “And off to work with you. Go on, all of you… out of my house.” She grinned as everyone got his or her things together, each a bit thankful the mood was lighter.

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Slowly they walked, neither really in a hurry to get to school. Despite their inability to get along Jenna and Devin loved each other. When alone they managed to get along well enough, but like all siblings they were individuals with different interests and personalities.

Jenna was one of the more popular students at Westview, so having a brother who was less than popular was difficult for her sometimes. At her age all that seems to matter is popularity and acceptance.

---Don’t even think about it. Yes, she’s my sister, and I deal with idiot guys all the time telling me how hot she is. Like I want to know! She wouldn’t like you anyway. She has taste. Jenna rocks, as far as sisters go I got lucky. Sure she’s in with the popular click but she never really treats me like crap like everyone else does. She maintains her image, but never gives me grief, which is cool, so I try I pretty much give her the space away from me that she needs to keep up her appearances.

Am I an awesome brother, or what?---

She had been watching him fiddle with a tube several inches long, wrapped in holiday paper for the past several blocks, and when he finally tucked it into his bag she had to ask about it.

“Trish’s present?” She looked at her phone, using the glare resistant screen as a makeshift mirror while she checked her make-up.


“Why do you bother? She hasn’t talked to you in like, two years Devin. You guys were friends back in Jr. High, but seriously after two years if she’s not said anything to you, get a clue.” A stick of gloss was procured from her bag. “Let it go. She doesn’t care anymore.”

“I care.” He replied, rather coldly, but he didn’t mean for it to come out that. “When we were eight I made her a promise. Every year I’d draw her a picture, so every year, I do. A promise is a promise, Jenna.”

“God, that’s so lame Dev. You’re coming off more as a stalker than anything else. People laugh at you for always trying to get her attention you know. Why can’t you just be normal?” Touching up her lip gloss slightly Jenna slapped shut her OpPhone. “She’s not interested.”

Rolling eyes and heavy sighs were common from Devin when talking with his sister. “I’m not trying to date her Jenna. We’re friends, we have been since K-grade.”

“Were.” She reminded him returning in part some of the coldness he gave her a second ago.

“Whatever.” He really wasn’t about to argue with about it. “I’ve never quit being he friend. I’ll continue to be there for her, you know, if she needs me to be. It’s that simple.”

“Was it that simple to quit the gymnastics team?” She had been looking for a place in the conversation to insert that. When Devin gave he the opportunity she pounced on it like hungry tiger.

It was a matter of time he knew before she asked him about it. For all the faults he had that she relentlessly rubbed in his face, as was customary for a sibling to do, she had always supported him when it came to gymnastics. He was a talented athlete; it was a shame that football was the only accepted ‘sport’ in the Avondale area. Those on the gymnastics team were hardly given much respect, let alone popularity.

“Mom?” Was the best he could muster as a response to her inquiry.

“Yeah, she told me last night.”

“I just thought it was the best thing to do.” Quickly he searched for an excuse. “Since the accident, I haven’t been… the same. You know?”

She grabbed Devin’s arm and turned him to face her, halting their advance to higher education. “No Devin. No, I don’t know. What the hell are you thinking? You’re the best on the team; the coach says your Olympic material, he wants you to try out for the U.S. team in 2010, Devin… this is the Olympics we’re talking about. How can you quit that?”

“It’s just… Jen, look, I have a lot of stuff I’m dealing with right now, okay? Between being the biggest loser Avondale has ever seen, my best friend not talking to me for the past two years, mid-terms, being in a coma,” Devin didn’t realize it, but with every phrase his voice was louder and louder. Being on the bottom rung of the social did get to him, thought he’d never admit it. It was a combination of abuse from his peers, bad dreams, and his accident about eight weeks ago; all of it was getting to him. He was about at his limit for stress. “I’ve about hit my threshold for the amount of bullshit one person can take in a small desert town Jenna. So just drop it! Okay?”

She had no time to reply before Devin was already on his away ahead of her. She saw the moisture swelling in his eyes. He’d never really gone off on her like that before. She knew the taunting from his classmates got to him but he’d always seemed to be good at just shrugging it off.

He’d made his point, and she didn’t bother to catch up with him. Feeling a bit sorry for pushing her brother to a breaking point Jenna quietly continued her walk.

---Okay, I know, I know… I was a bit harsh. Looking back on it I really didn’t mean to come off that brutal. It just… kinda came out that way, you know? What’s said is said I suppose.---

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