A Whateley Academy Short Story
Sweet Smell of Summer
Little Spring, Indiana
June 15th, 2007
Nate Lawrence, more commonly known by his codename Miasma while at school, was happy to be home. He would have been home a lot sooner, but his parents wanted to do some sight seeing on the long drive from Whateley. So he'd spent a lot of hours stuck in the backseat with his sister, Emily, with the windows rolled all the way down.
“Finally! I can breathe some clean air!” Emily said, taking a deep breath. She giggled when he glared at her.
His mom and stepdad got out of the car before he could say anything. They'd been really nice about his whole being a mutant and hadn't complained too much when he'd sometimes let one rip in the car. He bit his tongue to keep the peace. He could fart under her door later.
“You remember where your room is right, Nate?” his mom asked, smiling in amusement.
“The biggest one with the queen size bed, right?” he teased her back.
Completely deadpan his stepdad said, “Ha ha. Get your butt in gear and help carry in the suitcases.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Grabbing two of the biggest suitcases from the back of the SUV, he felt pretty good about the muscle he'd gained in the last term. He was still chubby, and his abs were hidden under a layer of fat, but he wasn't the overweight, weakling he had been.
His sister on the other hand had gained a lot of weight since Christmas. She had to weigh as much as their mother, who was on the heavy side. She struggled to reach the door with her suitcase, bouncing and stumbling as she walked. Shaking his head, he forced himself to not say anything, he didn't want her to cry again. The waterworks had been bad enough on the first day when he'd made a crack about her head being as big as one of her boobs.
Even before he stepped inside, Miasma could hear the dogs barking. Opening the door he was nearly knocked down by Cerberus, a pure black, hundred pound monster. The yellow Anubis was right behind, rubbing his head excitedly against his knee.
“Hey you two!” he said, pushing his way past them.
His Uncle Tommy came out of the kitchen, holding an oversized sandwich. Unlike the dogs, he didn't seem excited. “So the stink bomb is back.”
He wasn't ready to put up with his uncle. Sure the guy wasn't horrible, but he was a jerk. “Yeah, I'm back. You can take off and stop stinking up the place now, Uncle Tommy.”
“Just give me a few minutes to get my things before you decide to commit any war crimes.”
“Will you two please try to be polite to each other for five minutes?” his mom asked.
“Maybe when his ass stops being a toxic waste dump, Charlotte.”
His mom made a clicking sound of disapproval. “Seriously Tommy? Nate is being slightly more adult than you are.”
Smirking, Nate went to his room, on the second floor. It was a bit smaller than his dormitory in Twain, but it was home. His mom had fixed up the bed and dusted everything for his return. There was also a heavy duty air purifier and a huge fan that would blow the air out of the room. He had to admit, his parents were kind of cool.
Putting down his luggage, he hurried back downstairs to get the last few bags from the car. Looking around, his parents were inside talking to Uncle Tommy, and no one was out. Going to his uncle's truck, he opened the door slightly, put his butt up against the crack, and fired out a gut defying stink torpedo he'd been holding in for the last hour. Slamming the door shut, he sighed in relief and pleasure at letting it all out.
Taking the bags inside, he put them in the living room, and grabbed the dog leashes. “I'm taking Cerberus and Anubis for a walk. I need to stretch my legs!” he shouted.
As quickly as he could, he got the dogs ready and jogged out the door. The dogs not used to having someone who moved faster than a walk, pulled at their leashes, trying to make him go even faster. They'd reached the end of the block when Miasma heard his uncle screaming at him.
June 16th, 2007
“So what's Whateley really like?” Emily asked.
“I told you and everyone else on the drive. It's cool. I get to practice being a superhero. And I've got some of the coolest friends there,” Miasma said.
They were at the local dog park sitting under a tree, while the two dogs ran around the field working off some energy. The few other people at the park were by the benches or playing with their dogs, so he didn't have to worry about anyone overhearing.
His sister snorted. “Yeah right. I was at your school, I saw that one girl with short, black hair give you the evil eye. I thought you'd turn to ash or drop dead for a second.”
He scratched his head, and let out a nervous little toot. “Yeah. That's Pristine. She's... a little angry with me.”
There was a short pause, which he wasn't willing to break. So Emily did. “Why?”
“Well, she used to have long hair. But there was an explosion, and it got damaged.”
“And her expensive super suit was... destroyed.”
She face palmed. “You're kidding me.”
“And she really stank for a few days afterwards.” He looked down at his hands. He actually felt bad about what had happened to Pristine. He hadn't meant to make everything blow up. “She sort of blames me for all of that.”
“OK. I need to hear this. Your power is to stink, there's no way you could have done all of that.”
He looked around, just to make sure no one was paying attention to them. With the coast clear, he pulled a small cylinder from his pants pocket. “A few friends made me this. It's a gas bomb using my farts. I store it up for a day, and use a machine to cram it all into this thing. Then I can just press a button and a few seconds later it lets it all out.”
Her nose curled up in disgust. “EWWWW! But how did it explode?”
“Have you ever seen someone light their fart on fire?”
“Oh... That... Ugh... That poor girl.”
“Yeah. It was for a combat final, and I didn't get a bad mark. The explosion was an unexpected reaction. But she and all her friends have told me that if go anywhere near her or them next term, the school will never find my body.” He actually considered himself lucky to have the warning, Pristine could have easily gotten several dozen guys to beat him up. And it wouldn't even be considered retaliation, just a few minor comments to her friends or a bit of whining around boys who wanted to impress her.
“So what about the other kids who were cheering as we left, and yelling at you to never come back?”
Why did she have to actually pay attention to things? He preferred her a year ago when she'd been blissfully unaware of things going on around her. A stupid sibling was easier to deal with, and impress, than a smart one.
“They're just jealous of me. And I blasted them with my ass trumpet a few times, because they're stupid bullies.”
“Why are they jealous of you?”
“Because of my cool powers.”
She rolled her eyes. “I'm not an idiot, and I'm not as easy to impress as Mom and Dad. I saw kids who were lifting trunks with one finger, moving five suitcases with their minds, looked like supermodels, had robot assistants, and seemed tough enough to lift a truck. Farting isn't much compared to that.”
He wished he'd had some beans and soda in the last week. He'd been put on a strict diet, and to keep the peace, he was actually trying to follow it. One good butt bassoon would end the conversation. But he'd let out almost all he had on the walk to the park. The best his guts could do would just stink a bit before the wind swept it away.
“Fine,” he admitted. “I'm not cool or amazing.”
“So what's it really like?” she asked again.
“The school is cool. A lot of the classes are great, a lot better than school here. Survival class is awesome, you get to learn how to run away, spot things most people miss, distract people, lie, and disguise yourself. And I've made friends, with girls even. I've told you about Anna.”
Miasma didn't say anything at first. He didn't want to say anything. But this was his sister, they were just over a year and a half apart. He might not tell her what was going on, especially if she didn't notice it, but he didn't often lie to her, not to her face at least. Blowing out a stream of air, from both ends, he looked around again to make sure no one was nearby.
“My power sucks. I'm an Underdog, the joke of the school,” he admitted.
“What exactly is an Underdog?”
“We're a group with weak powers. The ones who can turn to glass, shoot a few sparks with their hands, make things that are kind of cool but aren't anything like the power armour and forcefields others can do. And... fart.”
“Oh. I don't think your power is that bad. You made an explosion, that's pretty cool.”
That made him smile a little. “Thanks, but that isn't something I usually do. I mostly just prank people, and then run away before they hit me. If I used the gas grenades too often Carson would get angry with me for damaging school property.”
“You didn't used to do pranks. At least not much more than most boys.”
“Yeah, well I didn't used to have classmates who can bench press trucks, are super-geniuses, use magic, or break reality with their minds. And they all think my friends and I are useless because we can't do the same.”
He waited for Emily to say she thought he was cool, or something stupid and unhelpful like that. It never came. Instead she bounced to her feet, picking up the old tennis ball they'd brought. “Come on, let's give Cerberus and Anubis some exercise.”
Grinning, he got up and followed her.
June 24th, 2007
Sitting down for breakfast, Miasma looked at his plate in surprise. His mouth filled with saliva and his nose twitched at the spicy smell. “What's this?” he asked.
“Black bean breakfast enchiladas,” his mother said.
Taking a bite, he shivered in delight. He couldn't often feel his spirit, it wasn't like Anna's squirrel spirit which would let her know if it was happy or unhappy. Instead he'd kind of felt depressed since leaving Whateley. Now with that one bite, he felt like he'd eaten a whole bowl of strawberry ice cream and chocolate cake, drizzled with caramel sauce.
“Are you sure that's a good idea?” his stepdad asked.
“We're going to be out all day getting Emily's braces taken off and shopping, and it's a beautiful day,” his mother replied. “So Nate will spend most of it outside, coming back only for food, drinks and bathroom breaks if he needs it. Right, Nate?”
He nodded, too busy shoving more of the delicious beans into his mouth to talk.
“He's followed his diet plan with only a few small cheats. So, this is his reward.” Her look informed him that if he wanted more rewards he had better keep to the diet of non-gassy foods.
“Thanks, Mom,” he said with a mouthful of beans.
Polishing off more enchilada's than was healthy, he quickly got dressed and headed outside. Waving good-bye to his family, he decided to walk around town and relax. The dogs had already had their morning walk. He'd come back around lunch and take them out for the afternoon.
He really wasn't sure where to go or what to do. He had a few friends in town, but he'd never been really close, being the fat, awkward kid. Being away all year, he'd lost touch with all of them. Thinking about it for a minute, he walked down the street heading for the small river that ran past the town. There might be some people he knew there, and if there wasn't, he could let a few rip there without causing any problems. And he'd be able to go past Old Man Gleason’s house, he had some really massive rose bushes that could use some trimming.
Walking down the wooded trail to the river, something felt off. No one seemed to be around, but the hair on Miasma's neck, well trained from dealing with Whateley bullies and a semester of Survival, was sticking up.
A footstep behind him made Miasma duck, scramble forward and spin around, fists raised for a fight. He also let out a loud bottom burp, wilting a bush that was uncomfortably close to his butt. Jeremy Harris, the biggest bully and jerk in town was there, and from his smile, he was looking for a victim.
“Hey piss pants, long time no see,” his former bully said.
After dealing with bullies who could trash a car by slapping it, Miasma wasn't actually that worried about Jeremy. He didn't want to fight the guy, but he just wasn't that scary anymore.
“With your ugly face, I'm wishing it was even longer,” he retorted.
The nasty smile became even nastier. “Wow, you're not pissing your pants. Did you finally grow some balls?”
“You're not that impressive anymore. You were terrifying in junior high, now you just suck.”
Seeing that insults weren't getting anywhere, Jeremy threw a punch at Miasma's nose.
Survival class didn't teach fighting, but they'd had some classes about learning how to duck. And something that Miasma had learned early on in his first year at Whateley, was that knowing how not to get hit was very important when dealing with superpowers. Fortunately for him, Jeremy wasn't in the same class as Whateley bullies, not even close.
He spun around, ensuring his face was clear of the fist while simultaneously getting his butt pointed right at the teen. He opened the gates of hell, releasing the brown horn brass choir, at point blank range.
His shorts felt brittle and cracked a little as he took off running. Even he didn't want to stick around and smell the unholy monstrosity he'd created.
Miasma heard Jeremy start to scream in horror and disgust. It was cut off by loud gagging, vomiting and whimpers. Then there was the sound of running feet, and they were quickly catching up.
Sparing a look behind, he realized he was in trouble. Jeremy, who had always been a jock was hoofing it along the path, his clothes were an unhealthy brown and green, with yellowish puke covering his shirt. That wasn't the bad part. The problem was his legs were unnaturally long. Every step covered at least six feet.
Pushing himself to his limits, he ran faster. He even let out another long fart, hoping the jet propulsion would help.
As a normal size hand grabbed his shirt, yanking him off his feet, Miasma really wished he was a brick. Or that he at least had regeneration. He hit the ground hard. From experience he knew that he'd be bruised in the morning.
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!” Jeremy gasped, putting his knee on Miasma's chest, pressing down so it really hurt.
“Had a few too many beans for breakfast.”
That earned him a punch in the face. His bully raised his fist again. “Like hell. No one normal could do that.”
“And no one normal can make their legs grow that long. When did you become a mutant?”
“Fuck!” Jeremy said. He punched Miasma again before getting to his feet. “You tell anyone about this, and I'll tell them what you are.”
Rubbing his rapidly swelling eye, he glared at the teen. “You leave me alone for the summer, and you've got a deal.”
Nodding, Jeremy headed down the path, cursing noisily.
Miasma waited a few minutes before starting back home. What had been a perfect day was now ruined.
He never noticed two kids watching him from behind some bushes well off the path.
June 28th, 2007
"MOM! DAD! HELP!"
Miasma woke up from a really nice dream of Anna in sexy, black lingerie, and tried to figure out what was going on. Then he heard another scream coming from Emily's room, and was out of bed running down the hall.
He beat his parents to her room, threw open the door, hitting the lights as he rushed inside. At first it didn't seem like anyone was there, just an empty bed that had obviously been slept in, and the usual junk found in a girl's room. Then he looked up.
Emily was on the ceiling, floating like a balloon in her pyjamas. She was crying, trying to hold onto the smooth dome light in the middle of the room. There was nothing holding her up.
His parents barged in behind him. Their mom took one look at the scene and began screaming, while their stepdad just looked confused.
Reaching up, he grabbed his sister's outstretched hand and pulled her down. It was surprisingly easy, she seemed to weigh about as much as a balloon. Pushing her onto the bed, she gripped the frame so hard her hands turned white. While she did that, her lower half started floating again. Their mom practically jumped on her, simultaneously hugging her and holding her down.
“OK,” their stepdad said turning to him, “we have another mutant. You went to mutant school, how do we keep her from floating away?”
“Uh...” Miasma wracked his brain trying to think. With no better idea he decided talking might help. “Emily, what does it feel like?”
Through her sobs, his sister said, “I don't know. It's like... like I'm hollow inside and rising up.”
“Uh-huh. Can you think of yourself as heavy?”
She screwed her face up, making it look like she was constipated. There was a faint hiss, almost like a balloon losing air. It got louder, and Miasma realized it was coming from her butt. Slowly Emily stopped floating.
“Oh thank, god,” their mom said. Her voice sounded weird and high pitched.
“What's wrong with your voice?” Miasma squeaked. He realized his voice sounded weird as well.
“It's helium,” their stepdad said. “Emily, you were full of helium.”
“I didn't want to be!” Emily shouted in a really squeaky voice. Then she pointed at Miasma. “And it came out my butt! This is your fault! Your spirit did this to me!”
Realizing just how irrational angry teen girls could be, Miasma knew there was only one sensible thing he could do. He ran for his life.
June 30th, 2007
Miasma turned off the TV as his parents and Emily came in the door. “How'd the MCO treat ya, Cumulus?” he asked, using his sister's codename.
“I hated it,” she said. “Did they use a taser on you, to see if you had a danger sense?”
“Yeah, they do that in Indianapolis. Whateley is nicer, but they take a lot longer and do more tests. What are your powers?”
“Exemplar 2. They said I'm not very strong, but it made me smarter. I think they're right, my grades really improved last term. And I'm a manifestor 2.”
“Creating helium is a two?” he asked in disbelief.
“I can make other things, like hydrogen, oxygen and CO2. They think I might be able to do more, but I'll need to practice a lot. And I can kind of fly, not just float.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, you're jet propelled.”
That earned him a glare. “I can make the gas come out of my skin too. It's not very fast, but it's better than farting all the time.”
“Calm down. I'm just kidding. Have you guys eaten? I ordered a pizza, there's still some left.”
“No thanks, we ate on the way back,” his Mom said.
They all sat down in the living room. His stepdad hunched over with his elbows on his knees, a sure sign he was serious. “You two are both going to Whateley in September. While Emily did her testing, I phoned the school to let them know. We'll be getting the paperwork in a few days.”
“Yes!” Emily said.
“All right,” Miasma said at the same time, with far less enthusiasm.
His stepdad continued. “Nate, this means you'll be doing a bit more work around Whateley for your scholarship. With you and your sister there, I can't cover as much of the fees. And I know you don't get along with a lot of the kids at the school, but try to help out Emily.”
“How do you know that?”
His mom rolled her eyes. “Honey, we do read the reports the school sends us. We know about your 'pranks'. We were ready to bring the hammer down this summer, but you're behaving yourself. So we're going to save the lecture for when you go back to school. And we've let the school know we expect them to punish you more severely if you keep up your antics this coming year.”
“Right. Can't wait to have that talk with you guys,” he mumbled.
Turning to Emily, his stepdad said, “And Emily, don't embarrass your brother. He's got enough problems already. If you can, try to help smooth some of his rough edges. I don't expect miracles, but give it a shot.”
“Can I use a bat to help smooth him out?” Emily asked.
“Hey! That's just mean!” Miasma shouted.
August 15th, 2007
Sitting by the river, his fishing rod held loosely in his hand, eating a 3 bean salad with a can of pop at his side, Miasma couldn't get much closer to paradise. He'd even caught a few bluegills. Letting out a one gun salute, he leaned back against his tree, wondering if he should take a nap.
He wasn't paying much attention, so he didn't hear the footsteps until it was too late. A massive hand grabbed him, and threw him into river. His attempt at self defence was too slow. The thunder spray, which would have made a skunk gag, just made a few bubbles and killed nearby fish.
Jeremy charged into the river with oversized hands, looking ready to kill.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Miasma shouted.
“You told them about me!” Jeremy roared.
Miasma jumped under the water to avoid getting his head knocked off. A fist the size of his torso brushed his hair. Coming up a few feet away, he dodged another blow.
“Told who?!” he demanded. “I haven't even said your name all summer.”
“H1! You fucking traitor. We had a deal.”
The very recognizable sound of a shotgun being pumped made them both turn to look at the shore. Ten or so armed adults were pointing guns in their general direction. Most of them were men, but there were two women as well.
The local dentist, Mr. Washington, stepped forward. “All right Jeremy, come on out of there. Don't make us shoot ya.”
Miasma stood very, very still. Mr. Anderson had drilled it into their heads that if you were surrounded and had weapons pointed at you but they weren't about to shoot, the best thing to do was to wait for an opening and then take it. So he studied the H1 members and tried to work out a way to escape. The river was too shallow and narrow to duck under the water and swim for it. Since he was in the water, he was slow and clumsy. He'd have to bluff his way out, or go with them and try to find a way to escape before they shot him.
Raising his hands, which were normal size again, Jeremy walked to shore. “You'll want the fucking traitor, he's a mutant too.”
Crap. “No I'm not!” Miasma shouted, doing his best to look angry rather than scared out of his wits.
“None of your lies, mutant,” Mr. Washington said. “We've been watching both of you. The only thing Nate has is a bad case of gas. And we already knew that. Nate, you can come out of the water, we'll protect ya.”
Not questioning his luck, Miasma got back onshore. His guts wanted to let loose, but he clenched his sphincter as hard as he could.
“Get him to the spot,” the dentist and apparent leader of the local H1 said, “I want to talk to Nate for a minute.”
Keeping their guns aimed at Jeremy's back, the group got the bully moving, with a few encouraging kicks to the butt. Watching them go, Miasma wracked his brain trying to figure out how he could save his tormentor. Sure the guy was an ass, that wasn't a reason to kill him.
“You OK, son?” Mr. Washington asked.
“Yes, sir. Are you- are you going to kill him?” he asked.
“Nah. We're just going let him know we don't appreciate mutants attacking baselines. He's going to remember the lesson for a good long while, but after a bit of time in the hospital he'll be able to leave town. Do you want to watch?”
He was about to say no. Every single lesson from survival told him to say no. The most important thing was to get away and keep himself safe. They weren't going to kill Jeremy, it wasn't his problem. “Sure,” he said.
Mr. Anderson was going to fail him so hard when he learned about this.
“Alright. If you want you can get a few kicks in. He deserves it for coming after you. Get your things, the party is going to start soon.
Packing up everything into his book bag, along with his bag of fish, he followed the dentist through the woods for several minutes until they came to a small clearing. A fire was burning, and Jeremy was tied up to a very thick tree. His shirt was ripped off, but otherwise he seemed fine. When he saw Miasma, he glared at him, with real hatred in his eyes.
Mr. Washington picked up a baseball bat, and walked over to the teen. “Jeremy, you've been a bad boy.”
He swung the bat right into the teens ribs. Jeremy grunted, but just gritted his teeth and spit at Mr. Washington.
“So, we're giving you a stern warning. Get out of town or next time we won't be so nice,” the dentist said. With that he swung the bat again, this time aiming for the stomach.
Miasma watched as one of the H1 members put a metal brand in the fire. Mr. Washington handed the baseball bat off to one of his friends. “Don't hit the face, we don't want to kill him. This time.”
Jeremy finally screamed as the bat connected with his thigh. Miasma realized he had to do something fast, or they might cripple the guy for life, and they would definitely scar him. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a gas grenade. All eyes were on the beating. Keeping his hand down, and facing the crowd, he threw the bomb into the fire. A quick glance and he saw he'd hit his mark.
Now he just had to make sure they didn't suspect him. And he had to make sure Jeremy could still run.
“Can I hit him?” he asked.
The H1 members smiled in approval, making him feel dirty.
“Sure kid, knock yourself out,” the current batter said, handing over the weapon.
He had no idea how long it would take for the grenade to go off. Hopefully it would be soon, but he needed to play for time. Smiling, he looked up at Jeremy who was gasping with every breath. “I hope you never wanted kids.”
Swinging the bat right his former bully's crotch, he stopped at the last second, and laughed. “Had you going there, didn't I? Don't worry, I won't do that yet. That's for the encore.”
Bringing the bat back again, he swung it into Jeremy's ribs, wincing as he did. It wasn't as hard as the adults had been swinging, but it still had to hurt. Why wasn't the grenade going off?
“Do you know how crappy you made my life before I left town?” he asked, tapping the bat against one of the bruises, making Jeremy wince. “You deserve everything you're going to get.”
Miasma got ready to swing again, taking his time to line it up, acting like he was getting real pleasure from it. And then there was explosion.
Everyone was knocked off their feet by the blast. Miasma's ears rang and it felt like he'd been hit by a car. Green, noxious gas filled the clearing.
The unexpected gas bombing made the adults vomit and gag. Barely able to breathe, some just laid there vomiting, others fled crawling on their hands and knees. It was impossible to see more than a foot or two away.
Forcing himself to his feet, Miasma pulled out his pocket knife and cut the rope holding Jeremy. “Run,” he said, keeping his voice low.
Jeremy didn't need to be told twice. Coughing and gagging, he stumbled away. Miasma did as well, going in the opposite direction.
An hour later Miasma clambered over the backyard fence. His clothes were discoloured and scorched, and it looked like he had a sunburn all over his body. Plants wilted around him. Emily who was reading a book and enjoying the sun was about to ask him a question, when the wind changed direction. She fell out of her chair, throwing up in the grass.
Stripping down to his underwear, he walked past his sister and went inside. “Mom, my clothes are outside, save the gas grenade in the pocket and the money, and just bag the rest for the garbage,” he yelled.
“Why? What hap- OH GOD! WHAT IS THAT STENCH!” his mom yelled.
“Tell you after I shower. And I'm going to need painkillers and some aftershave or perfume for a few days. And H1 might be coming after me.”
August 16th, 2007
Miasma sat on a wooden dining room chair, he still stank even with his stepdad's aftershave, and several hour long showers, and his parents didn't want to risk contaminating any expensive furniture. Emily sat well away from him on the couch, as their mom laid out the plan to keep them both safe.
“Your dad said you can stay with him for the rest of the summer. We'll pick you both up two days before school starts and drop you off at Whateley,” she said. “We'll have some time before Thanksgiving to see if they suspect you of anything, and if we need to, we can move.”
“Do we have to go to dad?” Emily asked.
“He wasn't thrilled about it either, dear, but we both agreed it was the safest option. Now go pack your bags. Take everything you think you'll need for Whateley. Emily I'll be up to help you soon.”
Going to the stairs, there was a knock on the door. Unthinkingly, he answered it, and froze. Mr. Washington was standing there, looking much the worse for wear, and reeking of aftershave.
“Hello Nate, I'm glad to see you're all right,” the H1 member said.
“Uh yeah. I manage to get away OK. Just wish I didn't stink so much,” he replied. He tried not to be too obvious as he looked past the man to see if there was an H1 hit squad or the MCO sneaking up on them.
“I thought you should know that Jeremy and his family left last night. So we shouldn't have to worry about him coming after you or anyone else, it seems he learned his lesson.”
“OK. I'm really happy to hear that.”
“I can't stay long, I need to have another shower, but I needed to tell you that if Jeremy does come after you, or another mutant does, we'll protect you.”
“Really?” he squeaked.
“Yes we will. Your helping us could get you into trouble, it's only right that we help you in return. Here's my number and something else for you.” Mr. Washington held out a business card and a small pin.
Taking them, Miasma realized the pin was a capital H. “Thanks. Thank you very much.”
“When your older, if you want to become an official member, we'll have a spot open for you.”
“OK. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks again.”
Closing the door, he leaned against it and started to laugh. His mom, who had been standing just out of sight, holding his stepdad's pistol, came over to him. “What was that?”
It took him a minute to get his laughing under control. “I think I'm a member of H1 now.”
Crystal Hall, Whateley
August 30th, 2007
Miasma and Emily were sitting at the Underdog table, enjoying the good food. He had a big bowl of chili, and it was heavenly in his belly. Everyone was finally back from vacation, which was almost as good. And there were already some new members alongside his sister.
“My summer was good,” Ree said. “Boring compared to some people, but I like boring. I sa-”
She was interrupted by a voice that was a bit too familiar to Miasma. “NATE!”
“Oh no,” he said. Turning around in his seat he saw Jeremy Harris coming over.
Standing up, he held his hands up in a placating gesture. “I'm sorry about hitting you, I didn't really have-”
He was stunned when his former bully gave him a hug.
“Uh, you aren't going to kill me?” he asked.
Letting him go, Jeremy smiled. “Nah. I'm not sure how you did it, but I know that only you could have made something smell that bad. You kept me out of the hospital and helped me get away from those bastards. If you need help with something, let me know, I've got your back. But if you fart near me, all bets are off.”
Stunned, he could just nod and say, “Right. No farting near you.”
“I've gotta get back to my lunch. Take care of yourself.” And with that the former bully left him and all his friends completely stunned.
Sitting down, Miasma saw that all eyes were on him.
“So,” Anna said, “it seems like you had an interesting summer.”