“Blue Atoms” Short Story Feature: Part Four

Richard Flamm
The Paw Print

The morning had turned to burning day on his skin. Brad looked around frantically, repeating, “What?” and “How?” All that was left of the barn was a single rotting board lying sideways in the yellow grass. Brad moved to pick it up, but as soon as his hand touched the board, it split down the middle.

Brad stared at the two pieces dumbly.

Wood must have been really rotten. 

After a few seconds of thought, he reached to pick up one of the pieces. Instantly, it, too, split down the middle. Brad backed away and swore. In his panic, he began to verbalize his thoughts to no one.

“What did that card do to me? Will everything I touch… Where’s the barn?!”

No one answered; the day was still and even the wind had retreated from the scene.

The boy spun around, looking for an invisible explanation. His ankle brushed a rock, splitting the granite in two with a crack that echoed the clearing. Startled, he fell back. When he did, a thunderclap came from the empty sky and the ground split all around where he sat.

Was that me? How do I keep from doing that again? 

What if I touch a person…?

Brad suddenly had an idea.

He ran back through the brush into the shaded woods and sprinted down the grassy trail as hard as he could. Unknown to him, his footfalls left cracks in the ground behind him. While keeping up an impressive pace, he was sure not to touch so much as a branch with his clenched fists.

By the time Brad reached the park, he had a bead of sweat running down his square chin. He saw his bike leaned against the fence, and had a horrible thought of it falling to pieces as soon as he got on it. He had no choice, though; he had to try.

As he reached for the handlebars, eyes clamped together tightly, he focused on the image of the bike holding together. As his skin touched the rubber bars, he heard a nearly inaudible whisper in his ear, and then stillness.

The bike stayed intact, and he opened his eyes with a quick breath.

As he climbed gingerly onto the seat and pedaled, he realized that in order to keep from destroying what he touched, he would have to focus constantly. This couldn’t be an easy task.

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