My name is Jacob. I should probably tell you I’m 8. I have two sisters. One is 9 and the other is 5. I draw a lot. It gets me in trouble sometimes. I draw in school when I’m not supposed to and my teacher tells me to stop, but I can’t! I have to draw! My parents don’t like it either. I mean they like that I draw but not when we have to go somewhere and I can’t stop drawing, or at the dinner table or stuff like that.
I should probably also tell you I have a super power. It’s not cool like Spider-Man or the Hulk. I don’t know how I got it. I’ve never saved anyone…
I don’t know if it’s really a super power. I can’t control it. And no one knows. But I see things…like…things that are going to happen. And when I do, I have to draw it. If I don’t draw it in time, then it still happens but it’s worse, like I’m getting punished for not doing it in time. It’s been happening as long as I can remember.
The first time, I was in Kindergarten. It was in the afternoon, after lunch I think. We were drawing and I was trying to think of something to draw. I imagined myself sitting in the front office of the school, but it was dark out. I didn’t have any reason to not draw it, so I did. After school I waited in line for my mom to come pick me up. I waited and waited. Finally, the principal brought me inside. I waited. They called my mom. They called my dad. But there was no answer, so I waited more. It got dark and I was still in the office waiting. I thought of my picture, how it had been so clear in my mind. There was a squealing of tires in the parking lot as my mom’s white van came flying in.
“I’m so sorry. I have no idea what happened. It will never happen again.” She apologized to the principal over and over again as she ushered me out the door.
When we got home, I showed her the picture of me waiting in the dark and she burst into tears. I ate and went to bed, but from my room I could hear my mom and dad talking. “I’m a terrible mother.”
“No, you aren’t. It was just an accident.” My dad’s voice was reassuring.
“Yes I am. Look what Jacob drew.”
“It doesn’t mean anything, he was just drawing what was going on.”
“I don’t know what happened! The baby was napping and I was folding laundry… I must have fallen asleep too. I woke up and it was dark…I never sleep like that!”
It was small things like that mostly. Until it wasn’t. Last year I was sitting in class. We were learning subtracting 100’s. It was pretty easy. By then I was kind of used to the visions, so they didn’t worry me. I saw my dog. She had gotten out of the yard and was running in the street. A car is coming and my dad is running towards the street, but he doesn’t make it. There’s a thud and a that’s it. Like that she’s gone.
My eyes welled. A sob started rising in my throat. But then, anger. I wouldn’t draw it! I refused to do it. I stood up, and before my teacher could ask what was wrong, I ran out. I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in the stall. I wouldn’t draw it and it wouldn’t come true. I would save her. But I had no idea how much worse things could get…
I heard someone come into the bathroom stall.
It was my best friend, Michael. I should probably tell you that he knows about my super power. He started at our school last year and we became best friends right away.
“Jacob, did you have a vision?”
I opened the stall door just a crack so he could see my face, and nodded. I snuffed the back of my hand to stop my runny nose, and took a deep breath.
“You have to help me find my dog. I won’t let my vision come true.”
Michael’s eyes widened, “You mean we have to sneak out of school to find her?”
I knew it was risky, but I wasn’t going to give up easily. If we could get supplies out of our backpacks without our teacher seeing, we could sneak out the door when everyone lined up for lunch. It would be easier to leave now, but my backpack had my special pen and paper in it, and Michael’s had his yo-yo.
I should probably tell you, Michael has a super power too. We like to joke around and call him Bat Michael, but we try not to say it around other people so it doesn’t catch on… he does have kinda pointy ears.
We went back to class. The teacher looked at us suspiciously, but went back to the subtractions.
“Um, Miss Latavsky?” Jillian held up her hand. I could see her clutching her pencil tightly. This was our shot! Jillian always asked for a pencil sharpening break.
“Yes, Jillian. Everyone take 5 minutes to stretch and sharpen your pencils!” Miss Latavsky set down her chalk. As everyone got up and began rummaging around their desks, Michael and I made eye contact. I quickly broke my extra pencil in half and went up to Miss Latavsky, while Michael looked as innocent as possible and shuffled towards the back of the classroom where our backpacks sat in their cubbies.
“Um, excuse me?” I went up to our teacher, holding out my pencil, “My pencil broke.” I stepped to the side so Miss Latavsky’s back was to Michael. Once she couldn’t see him, he darted to his cubby. I just needed to keep her attention for a minute so he could get to both our backpacks.
Miss Latavsky sighed, “Another broken pencil? This is your third one this month!” Ok, so maybe this wasn’t the most original technique, but it worked. She held out her and and I dropped the pieces into her palm. I could see Michael behind her stuffing his yo-yo into his pocket!
Just as Miss Latavsky turned to her pencil drawer, and which would Michael the extra time he needed to get my stuff from by pack, Jillian laughed loudly at something her friend Marcus said, and our teacher turned slightly towards the sound. Michael froze at the back of the room, his hand in my backpack. He was in her peripheral vision and I had to get her attention back!
“Can I have a blue pencil?” I sputtered as quickly as possible. Miss Latavsky looked back at me, confused.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had blue pencils, Jacob.” She pulled open the pencil drawer to show me.
I sighed with relief as Michael zipped up by bag, and waved my notebook over his head triumphantly.
“Oh, okay,” I said, and took a regular yellow pencil. “Thank you.”
Everyone took their seats and we finished up our lesson. The lunch bell rang, and we all collected our things. I stuffed my notebook under my shirt and followed Michael to the door. Our class filed out into the hall way, amalgamating with the other groups headed to lunch. Michael and I slowly let ourselves be separated from the rest of Miss Latavsky’s class, drifting back until we were one of the few stragglers in the hall.
Now was the moment! We dashed away into a stairwell and pounded down the steps! We were almost there! At the bottom, we paused and peered around the corner — the coast was clear!
A swift walk, and we were at the doors! Outside!
We’d made it! Now the real challenge was ahead of us…..
There is a different feel to the world during the day when all the children are in school and the grown ups are at work. It was almost as if we entered a new world. Every sound was ten times louder and scarier.
“This is amazing!” Michael said bouncing around. “I thought Miss L was going to catch us for sure.”
I held Michael back from trying to cross the street while a car was driving pass.
“We need to find her soon.” I said, pulling my notebook out. I began to sketch out in my notebook the scene I saw. “This is where it happens.”
Michael looked over my shoulder as I sketched. There was a small pond of water, with flowers circling the pond. Trees were on every side and a giant rock precariously teetered on the edge of the pond, that I knew one good hit would send it into the water below. It was not until I began to draw the last thing, a small broken stone wall covered in vines, for Michael to start jumping up and down.
“I know where that is!” He exclaimed. “We went there last year during camp while you were sick. There’s a gully at the back of the park.”
As we made our way to the park, the more I felt like something was seriously wrong. Despite Michael happy chattering, the air felt tight and oppressive. I had the worst feeling as we got closer to the gully and was sure I was too late.
There were mothers and nannies chatting on park benches while their young children played nearby. Michael and I were careful to avoid letting them see us, lest we get in trouble for being outside of school. He pointed toward the area near the back of the park and darted forward, while I followed slowly.
There is a moment right before all the hurt and pain hits you. It is a calming moment, in which you feel nothing, and I would do anything for that moment to last past a few seconds. I think back to that numb feeling I had and replay it over and over in my head to this day. The way the soft breeze caressed my face. The smell of the fresh cut grass and newly planted flowers. The soft laughter of the children laughing while their caretakers ignore them to talk about the latest gossip in town.
This moment of serenity that is often only read about, shattered only by the screams of Michael.