It’s A Snap
Hope – The desire to succeed despite overwhelming evidence that you won‘t.
“Chance! What happened to you?!” the professor cried out. Professor Bitterfeld never expressed any concern over his students so something must be wrong.
I looked down at myself as I rubbed my arm in pain and realized what a mess I was. My hands were still slightly wet with blood from trying to break out of the tool chest, although it was mostly dry. Overall I was a total mess and covered in filth. It was then that I noticed the class staring at me as well.
“Uh, I had a disagreement with the inside of an old tool chest. It thought I should fail my exam. I disagreed.”
I raised my fists showing my bloody knuckles for emphasis. Some of the students laughed. Some cringed.
“Ok, Chance. I’m not going to ask. Just take your seat.”
The professor started the exam.
“First up is Heather.”
Heather walked up. She was a slightly heavyset girl with a big smile and a big attitude.
The professor reached behind the desk and pulled out a 3 legged stool and set it in front of the classroom. On top of it was a lead ball about the size of a baseball. It must have weighed 8-10 pounds! I couldn’t even lift a grain of sand let alone this!
“Your midterm is to lift this lead ball. You will be judged on how quickly you can get it in the air and on control. This test utilizes everything you have learned and practiced so far. Height is not a factor except that it must be at least 3 inches off of the stool.” The professor announced.
Some of the other students looked a little nervous too. I was glad I wasn’t the only one.
Heather wasn’t nervous at all. She walked up with her hands dominantly on her waist, looked at the ball and almost instantly raised it a foot and put it back down in the same spot.
“Good Heather. A+” and the professor marked his list.
“Next is Felix.”
Felix was a really nice guy. Very friendly to everyone. Nothing could disturb him really, he was always smiling.
He walked up to the front, focused a little bit and the ball rose a little shakily about 5 inches, wavered and then set back down a couple inches off center.
“B. Let‘s practice that control a little more, Felix.”
“Henry? You’re next.”
A goofy looking kid stood up. He was always smiling like Felix but it always seemed like he was laughing at some joke no one knew about. He was tall and very lanky.
He stood up and cupped his chin with his hand. He continued this for a few seconds then I could see his brow furrow.
The ball wasn’t moving. Then a few seconds later it started to stir. First it rolled a little then as if a second hand came in to grab the other side, it lifted up a couple centimeters and dropped back down. Henry was breathing kind of hard.
“You didn’t make the minimum height, but you did lift it. D.”
Henry seemed disappointed. He was having trouble in this class; not as much as me though.
“Chance. You’re up.”
I almost swallowed my tongue. I had worked so hard to get here to probably fail anyway. Some stroke of genius had to happen here. All he said is I’d have to lift it. He didn’t say it had to be with magic… No, that wouldn’t fly.
I walked up to the front imagining a pirate dirge as I walked the plank to failure.
I got a couple of sympathetic glances on my way up. Everyone knew I had failed every test before this, all of them much easier than the test before me.
I swallowed hard and loosened my collar as I approached the stool.
Ok, let’s do this.
I rubbed my hands together.
First I cleared my mind and focused. I made mental contact with the ball. I studied it for a bit analyzing its structure and weight. All the force and energy calculations began to run through my mind as I figured out the force I would need at the proper locations. Just like the textbook said.
I started channeling energy into myself, preparing it. The sensation of channeling energy or at least the way it feels to me is like imagining myself to be a vacuum sucking inwards and then I feel myself filling with energy and as I fill up I seem to feel like I’m expanding outward and ‘glowing’. It’s the best I can describe it.
I put my attention back on the ball.
I began transferring magical energy to it. Every little doubt or distracting thought dissipated a little energy like steam coming out of a leaky pipe, but I damped it down right away maintaining the overall flow.
The energy contacted the ball and I could sense the force beginning to apply itself.
Some of the students leaned forward expectantly watching the ball for any sign of movement.
I focused harder. The ball shifted minutely but still wasn’t lifting. I brought all my force to bear. I could feel myself straining and immediately on spotting that all the thoughts and doubts came in on me and the energy evaporated in a quiet burst and was gone.
“NO!!!” I stared at the ball for a second as I accepted my failure. It was a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Oh, well.” I snapped my fingers in disappointment and began to turn but was interrupted by a loud crash!
Everyone gasped. I spun around. The ball was gone and little particles were floating down from the ceiling. I looked up and there was a neat little baseball sized hole in the ceiling.
Before I could try to figure what happened the lead ball came free falling right back through the same hole and landed on the stool with a crash cracking its seat and leaving the legs sprawled at odd angles but still standing. Technically. Any harder and it would have been obliterated.
The classroom was filled with murmurs of mystified students.
“It took you a while. Incredible power, but no control. I’ll give you a C.” He was trying to maintain his detached attitude like it had no effect on him, but he was a little pale.
The whole class, including me, exploded in an uproar! I was buffeted with cheers and slaps on the back in congratulations.
Everyone had been expecting me to fail and were all excited that I had made it. After a while, and with much insistence by the professor, the class settled down.
The rest of the class continued with the exam. Everyone was extra careful not to break the stool. I wasn’t paying much attention though. My attention was inwards. How did I do it? The professor would have been able to tell if someone cheated and did it for me.
I played over the sequence of events in my head. I tried to lift the ball and failed. All my energy had dissipated. I turned around and the ball shot up in the air. Wait; go back. What happened just before the ball shot up?
I turned and said, ‘Oh, well.’
Ok. Let’s try it. There was a pen on my desk.
“Oh, well…” I said to the pen in an apathetic voice, trying to mimic the tone I used on the ball. Nothing.
Hmm… I went through the whole procedure of gathering energy and trying to lift the pen and just as I was ready to apply the force said, “Oh, well.” Apathetically. Nothing.
There’s something else here that I’m missing, I thought to myself. I played through the memory again. What else did I do?
“I got it!” I snapped my fingers in surprise as it came to me in a flash and neat as you please the pen jumped off the desk a few inches and landed back down with a clatter.
I had snapped my fingers when I was turning around! That’s what did it.
I looked at the pen again, got the idea of lifting it off the desk and snapped my fingers. The pen lifted off the desk and floated in the air in front of my face. I stopped thinking about lifting it and it dropped back down, bounced off the desk and onto the floor then rolled into the leg of the desk to my right.
Now I know what happened to that grain of sand. It wasn’t a gust of wind or anything mysterious like that. I had snapped my fingers after I couldn’t move the sand and it must have been blown away or something.
“Hey, you’re getting pretty good all of a sudden. Is that some trick you use?” asked a pretty brunette sitting next to me. Her name was Jennifer. This is the first time she had ever talked to me.
“I don’t know. If I think of what I want to happen and snap my fingers it seems to just happen. All the calculations and force just do nothing.” I replied.
“Hmm…” She looked at her own pen and snapped her fingers. Nothing. She shrugged her shoulders. “Well, congrats. I’m glad you passed, we were all rooting for you.”
She smiled and turned back to watch the exam in progress. Students were still parading up to try and lift the ball with varying degrees of success.
I had finally done it! All I could think about now was calling Elena and sharing the good news. She would be excited. She always said I would make it big someday.
I walked briskly through the quad, reveling in my success. Something struck me though. I had noticed something weird before when coming through here earlier, what was it?
I looked around and saw it immediately. I couldn’t help but start laughing, just like everyone else in the quad was doing. Some of them were pointing.
Skulking in the shadows and ducking behind pillars whenever possible were members of Alpha Beta Beta. They were desperately trying to avoid being seen, but it was pretty impossible.
They all had iridescent splotches on their faces, hair and hands. I can only assume the splotches existed in other places because they were all wearing pants and sweaters to cover themselves. But there was no way to hide. My prank had landed.
I continued laughing and holding my stomach. The clear liquid I had poured in their water softener was a special magical ink used in tattooing to create sparkling iridescent colors in tattoos. It’s a pretty advanced magic that involves altering the chemical structure of normal tattoo ink to include phosphorous and other glowing or reflective elements. It looks totally clear until it touches human skin and then the color appears.
Don’t worry, since it wasn’t injected under the skin it would eventually wash off. Nothing permanent. But they’d never get that stuff out of the pipes unless they replaced the whole plumbing system in the house. This wasn’t going to go away any time soon. Maybe they would stop taking showers altogether.
The second part of my prank hadn’t taken effect yet. It wouldn’t until someone did a load of laundry. Within the next couple of days an Alpha was going to put in a load of clothes and open it up only to find watery slush. The disc I put into the hot water supply for the washer machine had a wire mesh made of a metal that was water soluble and when dissolved in hot water created a mild acid that was particularly effective on thread or fabric.
Where’d I get this stuff you ask? Let’s just say there were more than a few “meeks” around this school who had been pushed around one too many times by an Alpha.
After having my fun I made my way to one of the side courtyards off the main quad where I could have some privacy. I pulled out my cell phone and turned on voice commands.
The phone rang and was picked up.
“Hey Mrs. B, is Elena around?”
“Sorry Chance. You just missed her. She went out with some girls to watch a movie. I can leave a message though. Is it important?”
“Well, sort of. I have some big news for her, but I’d like to tell her myself. Can you just tell her to call me? She has my cell phone.”
“Um… Never mind. You just have fun out there and make a lot of friends. I’m sure El will call you right back.”
We both hung up. Elena’s mom sounded a little strange there towards the end. I wonder what was up.
The rest of my exams went like a breeze. I scraped by with a D in Magic Basics which was just enough to continue onto the next class: Applied Basics. Now that I could do magic everything would be easy peasy from here on out. Or so I thought….