Marshal stormed into the house and slammed the door behind him. His mother’s voice called out from the kitchen. “How many times have I told you don’t slam the door! I don’t want to have to replace it again.”
Marshal dropped his book bag to the floor and it sounded like he had dropped a ton of bricks. Marshal said, “Sorry, it’s just that they made me angry!”
His mother came around the corner and gave him the parental glare. That helped put some of the anger in check. “Sorry mom,” he said.
“So what happened this time?” she asked as she let the glare up just a bit.
“I saw two cars get into an accident right in front of me and I couldn’t do a darn thing,” Marshal said. “There was another of the damn video traffic cameras.”
“I’m sorry dear,” his mother said giving up the rest of the glare. “But you know you have to protect who you are.”
Marshal added on a ‘and protect your friends and family’ to that as well. “Mom, why did you and dad have me?” he asked.
“Now honey, we are not going to go there,” his mother said. She disappeared around the corner.
Marshal hurried after her. “Oh no, I want to know. If I can’t be who I am then why am I here?” he asked.
His mother tried to turn back on the gaze, but Marshal was having none of that. “Look, you had to know I was going to be different,” he said.
“We didn’t know no such thing!” his mother responded. “Genetics are weird things. Our condition is recessive. You’ve taken biology. You know it was a one in four chance at best.”
“Now you’re a science teacher too?” asked Marshal. “Can you tell me about the Marianna Trench?”
“The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans, located just to the east of the Mariana Islands,” said his mom. She then put her hand over her mouth. Marshal immediately was sorry he went that far. “So you decided to use me as Google?” she asked. “Go to your room!”
“Mom, you have a gift, just like me. You could go on Jeopardy and make a million,” said Marshal.
“You know perfectly well why not,” she said.
“Because the norms would try to kill us,” said Marshal.
“Because people fear something or someone different, especially if they have powers and abilities that everyday folk don’t.” His mom could see the hurt in Marshal’s eyes. “I’m sorry you have to pretend you are somebody you aren’t. For most people it means pretending they like their boss or that annoying kid that sits behind you. For you, it means no lifting cars and making sure the bully actually gets to think he beat you up. Look, life isn’t fair. I still use my powers, so do you. It’s just that we have to be careful.”
“But with all these cameras everywhere, how will we ever be able to help, and I mean really help. I know I could save lives,” Marshal said.
“People are so scared that they want complete control,” she said. “It means they would rather have limited success in defeating the bad guys then letting us help them along. Maybe someday we can come out of the dark, but not right now. “
“It still sucks,” said Marshal.
His mother gave her son a hug. “Agreed. Now please go pick up your things. Your father should be home any minute.”
There was a large puff of black smoke and Marshal’s father appeared before them. “Hi everyone, I’m home.” His dad noticed Marshal and his mom hugging. “Bad day?”
Marshal shook his head no. “Nope, just another normal day.”