The Ables

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Authors: Jeremy Scott
leaving a fuzzy, hazy shadow in its place. And that shadow is the end result of Mr. Weatherby’s abilities. It’s like the memory is never allowed to form or be stored by the brain in the first place, making it impossible to recall. Without him, we’d be placed in greater danger from the spotlight that comes naturally with what we do out there.”
    My mind always raced to the worst-case scenarios in life. “How many people like Paul Weatherby are there?” I was worried about my own memories. Could it be that I had been a witness to some amazing display of powers but had forgotten all about it due to some memory-hacker like this guy?
    Mrs. Crouch’s demeanor changed slightly for just a hair of a second, and then she regained her composure. Most of the sighted kids probably didn’t even notice it, but I could always tell with things like this. She didn’t want to keep going down this road. “He is the only one.”
    There was a murmur in the room, which she quickly sought to quell.
    “He is the only one strong enough, I should say. There are others with similar powers but at only a fraction of the range—able to blanket a small building, for example—but not the entire earth. None of the others are nearly strong enough to disguise
all
the heroes like he does. Throughout our history, there have been many with the more powerful version of this gift, but they always came from the same genealogy—the same family. Mr. Weatherby is simply the last of his line, and there is no one left for him to pass his power on to.”
    “Couldn’t he just have kids?” Henry announced his plan as though it was the most obvious thing in the universe. He could have added the word “duh” at the end, and it would have fit the tone perfectly.
    Another pause from Mrs. Crouch. “He had children once, Mr. Gardner. But they were killed.”
    The room went silent, and I now understood her apparent reluctance. The story she’d been asked to tell had a sad ending. Bentley didn’t let the sober atmosphere disrupt his learning, though. “And when he dies?”
    It was a question that didn’t really need an answer, though we all hoped the obvious one was wrong. Mrs. Crouch, however, confirmed our fears. “Our actions and our cities will no longer be hidden.”
    For several beats, no one said a thing. Mrs. Crouch finally spoke again. “Let’s call it a day on that subject, kids, and move on to something else. Surely someone else has a question about a different subject.”
    “What about Believers?” I blurted out, not waiting even a second for another kid to beat me to the punch. I knew this question would be a bit of a curveball, but I didn’t care. I’d heard of the Believers twice since learning of my powers, both times merely overhearing the conversations of upperclassmen during lunch or in the hallway. They made the Believers sound like boogeymen, which made me want to learn more about them pronto.
    “Believers,” she simply repeated back at me, like she was weighing her response. “Well, Mr. Sallinger, I’d like to know if you’d be willing to tell me a little bit more about why you’re asking. Where you heard the term, that sort of thing. I’ll answer your question, but I’d like to know what you know first.”
    “Well…” I began in my usual manner, “I’ve just heard other kids in school talking about them a couple times, is all.”
    Mrs. Crouch let out a long, deep breath. It struck me that I’d probably ruined her plans to lighten the mood when I simply changed one awkward subject for another. “A very long time ago …” she said haltingly, “before biblical times …” Another pause, though I couldn’t tell if she was trying to choose her words carefully or was just being dramatic. “There is a story of an empowered man who had all the powers and abilities in one. He could fly and had super strength; every power you’ve ever heard of, this man supposedly had. In the more modern texts, he’s called Elben.

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