Part V: Bad Day
Phys Ed, or ‘basic physical training’ as they called it, was torture. The teacher who had neglected to introduce herself made us do series of various exercises until we couldn’t; push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks and it went on and on. Not only did the exercise hurt and the teacher didn’t give us more than a minute to rest, I felt like everyone was staring at me; seeing me fail miserably.
I was by far the worst out of everyone assembled. The only person who did anywhere as badly as I did was Allison, who just seemed to be pushing through massive amount of pain.Out of curiosity, I let my newly acquired mystic senses take over, people being replaced by silhouettes and radiating colors. Allison’s aura was somewhat restless and shaky, the colors washed out. I knew nothing about reading auras but that didn’t feel good.
I took a look around and found out that there were three other auras that stood out; Ahti’s whose aura swirled differently, something I attributed to their alien origins. Then there was Mace; his aura was off in position, being really weak in his body but strong on his back, where he carried a case… The last one, oddly enough, was Sanjay’s; His aura was sort of faint and dim, that I couldn’t figure out why.
The minute long break ended and I dismissed my mystic senses, switching back to material vision before starting squats. After far too many different exercises, the teacher had us run around the Gym. The others got going and I followed them, half-jogging, half walking. My knees were already about to give up and I just wanted to hide away and cry the pain away.
“Are you alright?” Tyler asked, jogging slowly beside me. I could read the worry on his face.
“My everything is killing me.”
“Ouch. I know how you feel…”
“You look fine.”
“I used to have the stamina of a narcoleptic sloth but now my powers are keeping me going.”
“Lucky you.” I said, breathlessly.
Our short chat had managed to take away what like breath I had in me. I stopped dead and used the gym’s wall for support, trying to catch my breath. My heart was beating like crazy inside of my chest, accompanied by an uncomfortable pressure. Tyler stopped for a second, looking at me worriedly before his eyes found something and he started running full throttle again.
“What’s wrong Annabelle?” The Coach asked. She was this towering white woman who looked like she could crush skulls with her bare hands.
“I… Can’t… Con… tinue…” I answered, clutching my chest. “Chest… Hurts…”
“Okay, sit down and take it slowly.”
I did as she instructed, walking a few steps to the nearby bench. Sitting down was a mixed blessing; I was resting but now that I was the adrenaline started fading away. It was like I could feel every muscle in my being explode with pain.
On another bench, I noticed Allison sitting down. At least I wasn’t the only one being miserable.
I stayed there for a few minutes until the teacher stepped my way again.
“How are you feeling?”
“A little better.” I answered. “Chest pain is gone. Count for something?”
“Alright, that’s a good news. This afternoon after your classes are over, I want you to go to the Doctor’s office, I’ll ask Doctor Sij to give you a full exam just to be sure there aren’t any underlying medical problems.”
I nodded. My family doctor didn’t think I had any but then again the only thing he would ever really talk about on visits was how I was fat and lazy and that my parents should force me to diet…
The Coach gave me a hand up and called everyone to order. She introduced herself; Rachael Carver, the hero formerly known as the Juggernaut. I wasn’t very hero savvy but I knew her; she’d gone toe to toe with the Xenobreed’s Warmonger; easily one of the strongest supervillain in the world. Now she was a gym coach in a school… After her introduction she gave us the rest of the period as free activity.
Despite the fatigue, I joined Ahti’s Itharii sport game, which was somewhat similar to handball; hit a ball against a wall, you get a point if your opponent doesn’t send it back properly. I ended up teaming with Sanjay against Ahti and Rowan, getting our ass kicked pretty badly. I couldn’t tell, Sanjay wasn’t the most expressive dude in the world, but I really hoped he didn’t mind; after all we’d lost because of me…
Once the class was over we skipped to the showers and all I wanted to was to sit at the bottom and let the water massage me forever. But we only had fifteen minutes between classes…
The gods had elected to torment me further since the next class was another physical one; introduction to parahuman combat. I followed the team into the dojo and dragged my feet to the line the others formed as they waited for the teacher, Bird themed man number seventy-two, or the Rook, to begin his lesson.
After a quick speech about how important it was to know how to fight, he decided it was time to make us suffer. One by one, he called us to fight him. Rowan was first and ended up entangled, getting painfully dragged by the mane and having a knife at their throat. Most of the others didn’t do any better.
The Rook seemed to take far too much satisfaction in beating us, not pulling any punches. I could feel my hands shaking at the thought. After phys ed, I was always hurting all over. I didn’t think I could walk normally, much less run or evade an attack…
My turn eventually came and I stepped forward, the transparent barricade rising behind me to protect the others.
“Your turn. Show me what you can do. You have the first move.”
I raised my hand at him, taking a moment to concentrate and feel the power within me. When I found it, I unleashed it.
“Beongae!” I yelled out, summoning the lightning from my hand to strike at the Rook, not that it did any good, seeing as he dodged it easily. For some reasons, speaking Korean, what little I knew of it, helped me get into the right headspace to let the magic out.
I tried another few bolts but I was far too slow to aim properly as he closed in in a circular approach, making sure to dodge the second I opened my mouth. Before I knew it, he was within reach and his staff swept at my feet, sending me crashing down on my ass. I didn’t have time to recover that he had me in a chokehold. I tried to call the spell out, but couldn’t. I tapped his arm in surrender and he let go after a moment. I stayed on the floor until a very worried Tyler came and helped me up.
“Are you okay?” He asked in a whisper.
“I am so not okay.” I snapped without meaning to. He was trying to be nice but with the lack of sleep, exhaustion and now the beating and fresh marks around my neck, I couldn’t handle anymore.
Still, he didn’t mind, supporting me up and helping me to one of the bench where I spent the rest of class. Lunch came but I wasn’t hungry. No, I was starving but didn’t have the energy to actually eat anything, all I wanted was to lie down for a month straight.Through the afternoon classes lots stuff was said and it went in one ear and went out the other just as fast. Three new students joined our classes but I didn’t pay them much attention, instead just pretending to be productive and waiting for it to end.
After an eternity, the bell rang; announcing my freedom.