“Could you stop?” I yelled. “I’m trying to think.”
Bruce was sitting on the floor of the hallway with his back against one wall, and was bouncing a large rubber ball against the opposite wall. Unfortunately, the ball was bouncing off the outside wall of the laboratory and it echoed loudly through the laboratory. I think Bruce did it on purpose to annoy me, since he could’ve easily switched sides and it wouldn’t have been nearly as loud.
“What are you thinking about?” Bruce yelled back. “There is nothing we can do.”
“There is always science to be done,” I answered, with my face buried in a microscope and a pencil in hand.
Bruce snatched the ball out of the air. He inspected it for a moment while he contemplated. “Do you think there is a Chinese restaurant that will deliver right now?”
“Quiet,” I whispered, now standing in the doorway of the laboratory.
Bruce fired the ball towards the wall, but this time I grabbed it in the air before it hit the wall. I angrily tossed the ball into Bruce’s chest.
“Shhhh!” I urged, “Did you hear that?”
“Yeah,” Bruce mocked, “it was me bouncing a ball off the wall.”
“Just shut up and listen.”
We were both silent for a few seconds, in full alert mode.
“I think there is someone else in here,” I whispered.
“How?” Bruce said. “This place is a fortress.”
Bruce looked at me, confused. “That definitely wasn’t me.”
“The kitchen,” I said, already in full sprint towards the kitchen.
Bruce hopped up, and was not far behind me.
We reached the kitchen, but found nobody in sight. We crept around and inspected the nooks and crannies of the room. Behind the refrigerator in the corner we heard a small sneeze. Bruce lifted the refrigerator and set it aside.
Crammed behind the fridge in the corner was a young woman. She was short and thin with short blond hair, and looked to be in her early twenties. Her clothes were tattered, though I think by choice, and she had an overall rebellious look, but not quite punk.
“Hi,” she said, in a scared but awkwardly cheerful tone.
Bruce grabbed her arm, careful not to snap it like a twig, and pulled her out from the corner. We led her down the hall until we reached the conference room. The conference room was meant for small group meetings and presentations, but was now easily converted into an interrogation room.
We sat her down on one side of the conference table. I sat down on the opposite side of the table, while Bruce stood in the corner with his arms crossed intimidatingly.
I let out a deep breathe and gathered my thoughts. It’s not like we had rehearsed or planned for this in any way.
I finally asked, “What’s your name?”
“People call me Mitsy,” she answered quietly.
“What are you doing here, Mitsy?”
“Looking for food.”
“Why here?” Bruce asked.
Mitsy gave Bruce a puzzled look. “You guys haven’t been out there? Looting began almost immediately. All of the store shelves are already empty and it’s dangerous running around the city. I decided to try and find bunkers and shelters, where someone might have stockpiled a bunch of food or rations.”
“How’d you get in here?” I asked.
Mitsy sighed. “I actually found a few other places first, but they were all traditionally locked down tight. Then I found this place and it had an electronic lock, even though the power is out pretty much everywhere.”
“We have a generator,” I added.
Mitsy continued, “Electronic locks are even easy for me normally, but I just used my ability and it popped right open.”
I leaned forward in my seat. “Your ability?”
“Yeah,” Mitsy said, “just like everybody else after the burst. I can manipulate electricity and energy with my mind. It’s pretty coo—”
“So, everyone has abilities?!” I interjected.
Mitsy chuckled. “You guys really have been cut off down here. Yeah, everyone has abilities, and it’s chaos out there. Hence, why I am in here.”
Bruce walked over and placed one hand on the back of Mitsy’s chair. He easily lifted the chair with Mitsy still sitting in it and brought her face to face with him. “Who says it’s any safer in here?”
“That’s awesome!” Mitsy exclaimed, excitedly. Bruce’s fear tactics obviously had no effect. “You got the super strength. Did you get the healing thing too?”
Bruce turned to me with a confused look on his face, unsure what to do or say next.
“Healing?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Mitsy replied, “all the strong people I’ve run into have been able to heal really fast.
Bruce set down Mitsy’s chair and went back to stand in the corner. He gave up on looking intimidating and casually leaned against the wall.
“You said you can manipulate electricity?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Mitsy said enthusiastically, “I was good with computers before but now I don’t even need to use my hands. If I combine my mind and my hands I am probably the best cracker in the world.”
“How does it work?”
“I don’t know,” Mitsy replied, “I just feel the energy around me and tell it what to do. I can even feel the energy in human bodies if I’m close enough. I haven’t played around with it that much though, I don’t wanna hurt anyone.”
“Show me,” I said.
Mitsy let out a deep breath and closed her eyes.
The lights started flickering.
I looked up to the lights on the ceiling. “Interesting.”
The light started crackling, and the bulb popped then shattered, sending glass in all directions. We all jumped—including Mitsy—and put our hands up to protect our faces from the flying glass.
“Sorry,” Mitsy said, “I’m still not great at controlling it. I need more practice.”
I signaled to Bruce to follow me, and we walked into the hallway outside of the conference room to converse in private.
“What do you think?” I asked.
“I think she’s telling the truth,” Bruce said, “and I think we want her on our side.”
From inside the conference room Mitsy yelled, “I’m still hungry. Do you guys have any food?”