A simple change in perspective can change an outsider's entire perception of the story…


MacKenzie had wanted to go with Rachel to find the boy, he had begged Mr. Odis to let him, but the old man deemed it too dangerous as no one was sure what the extent of this boy's abilities were. They didn't know if Rachel would be able to stop him from using them and they didn't know how long it would take before someone in his presence died.

So MacKenzie was forced to wait at the Baron Lake train station, as part of the 'Welcoming Committee' as Mr. Odis had dubbed it.

Meanwhile, Klancy was sitting, alone as usual, in a dark alleyway between two trash cans. He struck a match against the pavement until it lit, then carefully lit the wrappers and trash he had bundled together as fuel and held his hands over it for heat, occasionally letting the tip of his finger graze the flame. He startled when he heard something move at the end of the alley, standing up and immediately narrowing his eyes at the auburn-haired girl who was staring right back at him.

"Why aren't you dead yet?" he asked, his voice monotonous and dry from lack of use.

"I'm special, like you," the girl replied, then she held out a hand towards him.

He stared at the offered hand for a second before looking back up into her eyes, filled with pity, and emotion he had yet to understand.

"You kill things, too? Didja kill me?"

Her laugh echoed through the alley and he scowled, but she remained unperturbed.

"No, silly. I can stop people from using their abilities. That's what you have: a special ability unlike anyone else. If you come with me, I can help you learn how to control it. Where I come from, there are all kinds of gifted children like us. What do you say?"

Klancy cocked his head to the side and looked at her through narrow eyes before he finally said "Alright. Promise not to let me kill anyone?"

"Of course," the girl said. "My name is Rachel. What's yours?"

Klancy laughed. "I don't have one. No reason for one, no one can talk to me anyways."

"How do you know how to talk so well?" Rachel asked, curiosity marring her features.

"T.V." Klancy answered. "Taught myself to read, too, although I'm not too good at that one."

"Well, now you can get better. We can teach you!"

"Okay," Klancy said, done with the conversation and hoping she would stop talking.

It didn't work. They walked through the streets, Klancy feeling powerless without that buzz in his veins of the life all around him, and Rachel chattering on about this and that, explaining to him all of the other children at this place she came from, and all of their powers and personalities.

When they arrived at the train station, Klancy's throat constricted, and his stomach felt like it was trying to escape from his body in any way possible. There were people everywhere, and not a single one of them was dropping dead as Klancy drew their life out of them. They were all going about their normal business, completely unaware of any threat looming behind them.

Klancy stopped in his tracks, but Rachel kept going a few paces before she realized he was no longer by her side.

"What's wrong?" Rachel asked, tilting her head to the side as she looked back at him.

Klancy didn't reply, and she purses her lips then walked back over to him, grabbed his hand, and pulled him along behind her.

"You won't kill anyone. You can't when I'm around, I won't let you," she said, as if that settled things.

Klancy wasn't entirely sure he trusted her.

They boarded a train, Klancy's chest still felt unbearably tight as Rachel continually rambled on to him. He ignored her in preference of staring out of the dirt-fogged window at the scenery as they passed: fields full of animals, little villages, cities suffering from pollution, rolling hills with little streams and ponds breaking up the monotony of the endless green. It was all either green, grey, or blue, but Klancy had never before seen so much of it. He was used to people and animals dropping dead and plants withering away in his presence.

He didn't sleep, but eventually Rachel did and as soon as he saw her nod off next to him, his breaths became short and quick. If she was asleep, how could she stop him from killing anyone? He quickly reached over and shook her awake, not wanting to risk anything.

"What was that for?" she asked groggily, her words much slower now that she was tired.

"My powers. You need to protect them," Klancy answered, fidgeting in his seat.

Rachel shook her head. "I've taken them. You won't get them back until I give them back. You have nothing to worry about."

Klancy took a deep breath and released his grip on Rachel's arm, reluctantly letting her fall asleep. He still couldn't shake the feeling of lurking danger throughout the entire train ride, although nothing happened.

Rachel slept all the way until the conductor announced they had arrived at Baron Lake Station, and she stood up, motioning for Klancy to follow her. The disembarked the train and Rachel led Klancy through the station to a circle of benches surrounded a fountain with water spewing out of the top of an umbrella under which a young couple was depicted kissing. On one of the benches sat a young boy with golden blonde hair curling loosely around his ears and the sides of his face. Upon seeing Rachel and Klancy, the boy stood up and pulled Rachel into a hug which she quickly returned. Once he released her, he turned to Klancy and pulled him into a hug, causing Klancy's muscles to tense and his breath to stop short.

"Mac, give him some space. The poor thing isn't used to people yet," Rachel said, nudging the boy, Mac—MacKenzie, actually—away from Klancy.

"Well, he isn't going to get used to people if we all avoid him," MacKenzie said as he obediently backed away and gave Klancy a crooked smile, revealing two perfectly placed dimples, and Klancy huffed out a laugh accompanied by a smile of his own. "See, he's already getting used to me enough to laugh. He didn't laugh for you, did he? That's because he already likes me better."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Mr. Odis is probably wondering what's taking us so long, we should get back to the manor."

"Manor?" Klancy asked, looking up at the two slightly older children, but neither one gave a response as they left the train station and climbed into a carriage out front.

The short carriage ride was silent as they trundled through the streets, a mixture of cars, carriages, and pedestrians sharing the streets with them, until they finally pulled through a wrought-iron gate.

"It doesn't look like much of a manor," Klancy said as he peered out the window, his nose scrunching up in disgust.

MacKenzie rolled his eyes. "Of course it's a manor."/

"That shack cannot be worthy enough to be deemed a manor," Klancy replied, looking at MacKenzie in shock. "It's falling apart!"

"Well, now, you can't just look at that!" MacKenzie said. "It's huge—four stories, see!—and the grounds account for half of the land in this town. Therefore, it's a manor."

"I think you need to re-evaluate your definition of 'manor'," said Klancy, which cause MacKenzie to laugh as the carriage came to a halt right in front of the cracked steps leading up to the warped oak front door.

MacKenzie opened the door to the carriage and jumped down, holding his hand out to Klancy to help him down as well. "Come on, I'll take you inside and give you a tour of our lovely home and I'll take you to meet Mr. Odis—he's basically our dad, just without the whole 'shared DNA' thing."

Klancy nodded and followed along behind the older boy through the halls and many flights of stairs, first stopping in what seemed to be the dining room, with a long table and dozens of chairs around it, several children sitting there eating sandwiches.

"Everyone, may I introduce to you our newest recruit," MacKenzie said, sweeping his arms in a grand gesture like the showgirls on those television shows where contestants competed to win different prizes.

Klancy gave a small wave, feeling a little anxious about being introduced to so many people.

"Okay, so, going around the table starting with her we have Vivianne, who can reawaken the dead and possess them; Lakesly, he can control the flow of time; Michael, he can change the temperature of anything he touches; right there is Eve, who can heal anything that's living, as long as it is still somewhat alive; Kiana can turn into water whenever she wants; Amber, that one there, she can manipulate any metal object; and Franklin, he talks to animals."

Klancy blinked at this sudden onslaught of information, then smiled weakly. "Hi," he said, quite unsure of what exactly he was supposed to say. Did he have to give them a name and tell them all about his power to kill anyone and anything that came near him? He didn't even have a name, as far as he was concerned.

The girl MacKenzie had indicated as being Eve stood up and threw her red her over her shoulder with a smile then held out her hand to Klancy.

"Nice to meet you. I suppose I've got a bit of decent competition now, our powers being the opposite of each other and all," she said, but it wasn't unkind.

"Nice to meet you," Klancy said, shaking her hand cautiously.

"Where's everyone else?" MacKenzie asked, interrupting their awkward handshake.

"In their rooms, but Mr. Odis is waiting for you, so I wouldn't stop to introduce them," Eve answered.

MacKenzie nodded. "Okay. Come on then, we can finish this tour later."

So, they left the dining area, MacKenzie in the lead, and walked down a few more halls and up a couple more flights of stairs, and then they were on the top most floor, right below the attic, and waiting in front of a door as MacKenzie knocked on it.

The man who opened the door was middle-aged with graying hair and a fine, gray suit.

"Hello, there, young man. You must be Klancy," he said, opening the door and sweeping his arm to allow the two boys inside. "Well done, MacKenzie. Be sure to extend my thanks to Rachel, as well. Now, I must ask for a moment alone with our newest member. Just wait outside, you can show him to his room when I am done."

"Okay, Father. Thank you, Father," MacKenzie said. His eyes stayed averted from the man's face the entire time as he backed out of the room and closed the door as he went.

"My name isn't Klancy."

The man grinned, a hint of condescension turning it ghastly. "I'm sorry, young man. What is your name, then?"

"I don't have a name, sir."

"Well, everyone needs a name. When I found your hospital records from your birth, the name on your birth certificate was Klancy Lucas. Is it okay if we use that as your name?"

"I guess," Klancy said with a shrug.

"Okay," the man said. "Now that that's settled, let me fill you in a little on who I am and what we do here.

"My name is David Odis, but you can call me either Mr. Odis or Father." He paused and Klancy nodded his head, the sudden onslaught of information already had him feeling a little dizzy. "This manor and the grounds it's on has been passed down on my family for many generations and now I am using it to train young people like you. That is, children who were born with special powers and abilities that, until now, were the things of legends. Here, you will train with the other children to hone your powers until you have complete control, then, when you become old enough, you can use your powers to help people in different ways.

"Not only will you train your powers, we will also be training your mind. Schooling will be unnecessary for you and the other children here, as you may put the normal children at risk and you will learn everything you need to know here.

"Now, if you have any questions, any at all, you can ask either me or one of the other children. MacKenzie and Rachel have both offered to show you to your room. You will have about an hour to settle in and then they will come to retrieve you again before dinner. I hope you find everything here to your liking.

"MacKenzie, you can come back in here!"

The door opened again and MacKenzie stepped through, his eyes trained on the floor. "Yes, Father?"

"Would you be so kind as to show Klancy here to his room? You know the one, Eve and Amber cleaned it out just last week," Mr. Odis said.

"Yes, Father," MacKenzie said. He motioned for Klancy to follow him from the room and together they trekked back down the stairs, out the front door of the house, and across the soggy yard until they arrived at a dilapidated little shack.

"This is yours," MacKenzie said. "I hope it's okay…"

Klancy opened the door to find a single rickety metal bed and a small wardrobe filled with identical Lycra suits, all in black with white trimming. The same exact thing Klancy had seen all of the other children wearing.

"I'll come get you for dinner in an hour," MacKenzie said with the faintest if smiles.

Klancy turned pleading eyes on the older boy. "Stay here, please?"

"I'm sorry… I can't…" MacKenzie said, and with that, he backed away and shut the door, leaving Klancy to feel even more alone than ever.