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Chapter 1


'Just going to speak to the doctor, dear,' the woman said. She briefly patted her son's hand, as it rested over the blanket, and stood up. She walked around her chair to the door. Doctor Cole stood at the entrance.

'What's wrong with him?' she asked quietly.

'Nothing,' said the doctor.

Mrs Chase paused, unsure that she heard correctly. 'But I – what?'

'There is nothing wrong with your son,' said Doctor Cole. He looked down at the clipboard in his hands and thumbed through the sheets. 'His temperature and breathing are regular, his reflexes are fine, and he didn't receive any broken limbs when he fell.'

His voice was full of surprise. This was what worried Mrs Chase the most, when doctors came across a very rare case and therefore did not know how to act accordingly. She peered into his eyes. They were wide as they scanned the pages in the clipboard. 'Doctor,' she whispered, desperately, 'what are you saying?'

He glanced quickly over her shoulder at Sam, then beckoned for her to follow him into the corridor. Outside the room, he quietly shut the door, and spoke in a low voice to the mother. 'There weren't even any bruises. Not even a scratch! And there seems to be no cause for him to have fallen over.'

'But he told you,' Mrs Chase interjected, 'he was dizzy.'

'He's perfectly fine now,' replied the doctor. 'This boy is a truly remarkable exception – how long ago was he brought in here? About an hour?' Mrs Chase nodded. 'He's regained consciousness and everything seems to be in working order. People usually take at least two hours here, and then we have to tend to physical injuries. But Sam has none! He fell down a set of stairs and he hasn't a single fracture or even a scrape!'

Mrs Chase nodded, as if she understood. She did not, however, and actually felt rather sick. What did this mean? It was completely unnatural…how had he come to no harm? She looked through the window in the door at her son.

Sam lay propped up against three pillows, his arms lying flat over the sheet. The past two hours whirled in his head like a videotape in fast motion. He remembered standing there – and then he was not. He instead had found himself on a desolate stretch of land in his dream, and there was a ferocious wind. The sky had been purple with dark clouds tumbling across it, and the sun was a burning ball of scarlet on the western horizon. A young voice was calling to him, but he couldn't hear what it was saying. And then he saw a pair of jet-black eyes, and heard a tinny, bone-chilling shriek, like a cat being attacked…

And then he had woken up on a hospital stretcher, with his mother running alongside him into the hospital. He still did not know what happened to him. The only thing that he understood was that at this moment, as he lay in the bed he felt stronger. Not just stronger since regaining consciousness, but the strongest he had ever been in his whole life. He smiled to himself; his arms, his hands and his legs, were like springs, coiled back and ready to fly out and achieve great things. He knew it was a silly sensation, and deduced that it was probably a typical reaction for anyone who had passed out and awoken again, but he fancied it.

Sam sighed. He did not want to move just yet, in case his philosophy was wrong and his body was broken, so he simply lay and stared ahead. A buzzing sound met his ears. His eyes twirled in the sockets, and then he located the source of the noise. A wasp was busy trailing around the room.

Sam kept his eyes trained on the insect. It was a pointless exercise that one did to pass the time. He couldn't avert his gaze now, though. He watched it as it swooped and spiralled, not thinking about how he should have lost it now, as an ordinary person would. He found it so incredibly easy, even as the wasp picked up speed, to keep his eyes on it.

The wasp came forwards and flew up to the wall above his head. Sam did not want to tilt his head back so he listened. The sound grew intense again, and the wasp came into sight; it was flying slowly down toward his head.

(my hands my hands they're burning I'm on fire)

The wasp dropped before his face so that it hovered an inch in front of his nose. Sam kept perfectly still. The buzzing was shrill. His body was like a spring again.

The wasp turned, and began to zoom in a horizontal line away from his face, as if it had suddenly sensed the power in his body…

Sam moved. It was a quick, thoughtless action governed by instinct and agility; he saw his arm fly up, and his hand pelted through the air, his fingers swiping like a whip. He caught the wasp.

Mrs Chase blinked. Had she just seen what she thought she'd seen? She surveyed her son. He was sat in bed, his left arm outstretched and straight. His fist remained closed, and for a second it looked like some Nazi salute. But he was holding something. Was it possible…? No, surely not…

'Did you see that?' she whispered, partly excited, partly fearful.

'No, what happened?' Doctor Cole seemed only half interested. He was still filling in notes on his clipboard. Mrs Chase ran up to him.

'It's Sam, he caught a wasp!'

'Good for him.'

The woman grunted disapprovingly. 'It was flying really fast though. He just reached forward and his hand was like a bullet. He caught that fly!'

Doctor Cole looked at her. 'Truly?' he said. She nodded. He moved towards the door and had to stoop very slightly to peer in through the window. He saw Sam, drawing his hand back to himself. He watched as the boy's fingers relaxed and opened. A tiny black dot, which Doctor Cole assumed to be an insect, lying in the centre of his palm began buzzing, and flew off. Sam's expression seemed to remain passive, unaware that he had done something remarkable.

The doctor was speechless. He pushed open the door and walked in. His mother followed. Both adults looked at him in awe and disbelief.

Sam shrugged. 'What? I wasn't going to kill it.'