I was brought to the Psychics Learning Institute when I was sixteen. This was not good for my as-of-yet nonexistent social life, as most psychics are found when they are very young, or at least under seven years of age. Any latent power awakening after that is slim to none, and had actually never happened before my case. So these kids had all grown up together knowing each other and I was the odd man out.

Luckily, my school has bullies who are ever-so-kind in helping others discover things about themselves that they'd rather not know. Like the fact that I'm gay, apparently, although I didn't agree with them until I found out I was psychic.

You see, all psychics are gay. It is not merely a requirement; it is a fact. Some type of thing in the brain or the genes or what-have-you. It doesn't matter, because in the end it's all the same.

And before this, I'd always thought I was asexual.

I'd been a bit of a loner my whole life. The weird kid in the back of the room who read without spectacles and spent the rest of his time wearing thick, coke-bottle glasses. The one with brown hair and brown eyes and who always wore a bright orange coat that even I hated. The coat was patched and dirty and was worn even in summer. The rest of my clothes were okay, but they weren't preppy or grungy or any other adjective that can be used to classify a group of people . . . and being goth with that type of coat would have been a laugh, although my ears were pierced. (I never wore the earrings, so I figured that they'd closed up, but my ears were pierced.)

Also, I was short. Not terribly short, maybe only an inch . . . or seven below medium height, but that was more than enough for bullies. No friends, no muscle mass, no fight at all. I admit, I was more annoyed than scared and went along with everything mostly because it took too much trouble to actually do anything about it.

Although I wasn't stupid enough to think that if I did fight back that I would win. I'd get pounded into the ground, and it would hurt a lot more than those little "love taps" they gave me every day.

And then the new kid came.

You know, it was kind-of clichéd now that I think on it. But things like that don't register in real life 'til you're actually telling the facts to someone else.

Anyways, you should know the story. He was hot, popular, and with the personality of a slug. Only I seemed to notice it, though. Everyone else was caught under his spell.

Well, not his spell, since there's no such thing as magic. I guess a better way to say it is that they were caught under his mind.

An unregistered psychic awakened long ago. Whoopee. I don't know how he hid it, but he was never caught.

As I was a psychic with latent abilities and he wasn't trained in using his powers to their full potential it didn't affect me, but he and I didn't know about that, so he, noticing that I was the only one not affected enough to love him or like him or want to have his babies, decided that he'd join my nice, kind bullies in bullying me.

I'd felt all the accepted forms of physical bullying before him. Wet-willies, swirlies, wedgies, punches, kicks, pushes, trips, locked outside with only my boxers on, etc.

I'd heard it all before, too. The ones about my sexual orientation with negative connotations, like fag, queer. The ones about my soul, like "You're going to Hell!" The ones about my non-muscular body and my apparent relation to a hamster in the size department.

All talk, and I ignored it with what I thought was a good amount of apathy. And if anyone ever tells you that bullies will stop if you just ignore them they are an idiot. Bullies will go after the ones who won't ever fight back or can't fight back because bullies don't like to get hurt, either.

So, in reality, what that boy did to me wasn't anything new, it was just a step farther.

I guess attempted rape is reason enough for me to wig out and levitate everything within a fifty meter radius of me, somehow forcibly moving a knife from Home Economics on the first floor of the school up through the ceiling and into the second floor science room right above it, into that bastards brain.

The blood droplets floated, too.

The others, who had been sort-of hesitant about the whole ordeal but had been holding me down until gravity had decided to take a rain check, freaked out and scurried away as best the could while not actually being able to touch the ground. Once they were gone and I was absolutely sure that boy was dead, everything fell to the ground in a crash. I, myself, hadn't moved at all, and the boy's body thumped to the ground a little ways away from me. I turned to watch him, not really feeling anything—not even the desire to move.

But I eventually got off of my stomach and pulled my underwear and pants back on, skirting around the hole in the floor to just get out.

As I was walking home I thought about that hole and how fast the knife must have been moving to make a hole that big and actually pierce through that boys forehead. Bone can't be that easy to cut through, and that knife wasn't big and probably wasn't all that sharp. . . .

I reached home only about ten minutes after my usual time, and as my parents wouldn't be home until six and seven (mom at six, dad at seven) I had plenty of time to shower (it took about an hour, and I didn't care about using up all the hot water) and homework (ten minutes). I admit, I skimped a bit on the homework. But I wanted it done while at the same time I didn't want to actually do it.

I finished an essay due at the end of the year in two minutes. I wrote my name, the date, the teachers name, the class, the title, and then wrote the lines: I was just almost raped. I'm not writing this crap piece of an essay on Sylvia Plath. You'll just have to deal with that, Mrs. Georgio.

I promised myself I'd change it later, but it made me feel better about it at the time.

I spent the remaining hours until six wondering when they'd find the body and if I'd left anything to incriminate me. I thought, Probably. But what can I do about it now?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. There were still teachers at that school, and one of them had undoubtedly passed the rooms by this point on one of their half-hour patrols. In fact, they might have seen me walking out of the school like a zombie, or been standing in the classroom doorway staring in shock at the body and the mess and I'd just walked right on by them.

I hadn't really been paying attention, at the time.

"I'm home!" I heard my mom call through the house. I'd usually yell down something, and I didn't want to seem weirder than I already was acting.

"Hi mom!" I yelled back. I got up off my bed and wandered to the stairs. "How was your day?"

"Terrible," mom groaned from the couch, and I felt a split-second of fear that the police or school had called her and told her the situation. Or that maybe the institute itself had called. . . . But then I dismissed those fears as silly. If something like that had happened she'd be a bit more jumpy and depressed. "My boss was being a complete . . . well, she wasn't very nice." My mother grimaced, upset at her own rule of 'no cussing in the house.' "Do you feel like Chinese or Pizza tonight?"

"What about Middle eastern?"

Mom rolled her eyes up to me. "You just like their rice."

I smiled at her, and if it was a bit forced she didn't comment on it, already rolling off the couch and fumbling to put her sandals on.

"I'll be back in half an hour," she said while she grabbed for her keys. "Lock up behind me, 'kay sweetie?"

"'Kay, mom."

Mom blew me a kiss and sashayed out the door. I walked down the stairs (because I walk, and only walk, unless I'm really tired or hyper) and locked the door behind her. I turned around and almost slid down the door, but realized I'd never get up again until mom pushed open the door to come back, and wouldn't that be interesting to explain.

I pushed myself away from the door and fell down onto the couch, smooshing my face into the cushions.

I don't know how long I laid there, but eventually the doorbell rang. It obviously wasn't my mother, and I worried vaguely that it might be the cops, but I got up and went to open the door anyways.

Imagine my surprise to see a man and a woman standing there wearing all white with a badge on their chests with the name 'Psychics' Learning Institute' printed on it. Two policemen were right behind them.

"Are you Cory Franklin Tracy?" asked the woman. She and the man looked like twins, with black hair and brown eyes and dark-ish skin.

"Yes," I said, eying the cops behind them. "May I help you?"

"We just need to talk to you for a bit," said the man, and damned if they didn't sound exactly the same. "May we come inside?"

"Sure." I stepped out of the way and all four of the adults passed into the house, the cops eying me just like I was them.

"Where are your parents?" asked one of the cops. He was a bigger guy, and his partner was this skinny little thing who looked like he'd break if you flicked him on the forehead.

I checked the time. "Dad's coming home from work, mom's out getting supper."

"I see. . . ." The woman and man from the Institute did not even look at each other, but something seemed to pass from one to the other. I figured they were telepaths, since they'd come from the Institute. "Well then, we'll wait until everyone's here before continuing."

"'Kay," I said, like I had a choice.

I led them to the living room and said, "You can sit down, if you want. Anywhere but the table and the TV." Then I sat on the couch and waited for the awkward silence.

It didn't happen right away. "Did you kill Anthony Robert Perkins?" asked the big cop, pulling out a notepad at the same time the skinny one did.

"Yes," I said, seeing no reason to say otherwise. The state didn't condone capital punishment on non-psychics and besides the Institute people being present they were treating it like a non-psychic situation, so I would get sent to juvie. I just hoped that it wasn't as bad as people said prisons really were. I didn't think I'd like being raped for real.

"Okay." The big man looked down and wrote something, then looked back up. "Did you use your psychic powers to do it?"

"Yes."

"Why?" I switched my gaze to the woman, blinking in slight surprise.

". . ." I looked down and frowned. This was embarrassing. . . .

"Kid," started the big cop, "you'd better answer the lady."

". . . He tried to rape me," I said quietly. More pencil scratches on paper, and I frowned at my hands.

"Okay," the big man said again, but just then keys jangled in the front lock and the door swung open.

"Sorry honey," mom said as she navigated into the house with two plastic bags full of food from the Middle eastern place just three blocks away. "The lights just weren't working for me today. I ended up crossing the street when I wasn't supposed to." She twisted the keys and locked the front door again from the inside. "I think that button on May Street it broken. I'm going to send a letter. . . ." She trailed off as she looked up, dropping her keys. They clanged and swung from the doorknob. "Oh!"

"Hello Mrs. Tracy," said all four of them at once. The two groups glanced at each other. I was surprised that the skinny man had such a deep voice.

"Um, what. . . ?" My mother trailed off again, looking confused and scared.

"Mrs. Tracy, don't worry," said the Institute woman soothingly. "We're just here to clear up some details surrounding Mr. Perkins' death."

"What!" My mother was starting to sound shrill. She was a very together woman, and wouldn't ever completely lose it, but sounding shrill was the closest she ever got to a nervous breakdown.

"It's nothing," said the Institute man. "If things go how we're thinking, your son can get off with only being accused of defending himself."

The big man grunted and jotted down more notes.

My mother slowly turned to me. "You . . . killed someone?" Her voice was soft and sad.

"Yeah," I said, and frowned as my voice shook a little. Mother bit her lip and looked down with a nod, going to the kitchen to set down our food. She came back and sat down on the couch beside me, looking pale and determined.

"We would also like," said the Institute woman gently, "to offer a place for your son at our Institute."

It wasn't a request like she made it sound. I'd either go to the institute or I'd be killed by these two, because an unregistered and untrained psychic was deadly to any and all persons.

"One thing at a time, please," my mother said in a distantly polite voice. She had the look of a female lion protecting her cub.

"Of course."

Then came the awkward silence. It lasted until dad got home.


In the end, I explained the series of events, including pertinent details like the names of the boys who'd been there and held me down. The cops left, and the Institute people explained how odd it was that one as old as sixteen years should develop psychic habits, and asked gently if I'd displayed any odd behavior before or had kept this hidden from the public for years. I felt a sort-of push against my mind and said, "No," at exactly the same time as my parents.

That was disturbing.

I was offered a place at the Institute and agreed to train there and live there at least until I'd reached full potential and could handle (read: control) myself in all situations. The one good thing that came out of this was that the Institute would also handle the legal repercussions that might result from my killing a high school student, even though I was just a high school student myself and it was in self-defense. People were a bit wary of psychics, even though they'd—we'd—been out and proud for fifty years and even took care of their—our—own, rogue kind.

The last thing they said before they left was that it would be an honor to have me come to their school, and how they would have to test me to see if they could figure out why my abilities weren't awakened before this. "We'll be here tomorrow to pick you up around twelve, so pack everything you want tonight!"

The silence after they left was palpable. The conversation around dinner, strained. I packed up all my needed stuff in one suitcases and a backpack and all my wanted stuff into six boxes.

It took me a long time to get to sleep.