My feet pound against the grass, taking me farther away from my pursuers. Around me I can hear the panting breaths of my siblings. I do a quick head count; eight. Plus me makes nine.
Yeah; nine. Nine kids—siblings really. Though not blood related, except the twins. Yep, no parents, no school, no responsibilities, and most of all; no bedtimes. Sounds great, right?
Sure, the whole no parental supervision thing is kinda great sometimes—I’m not gonna lie. No nagging adults always hanging over us; that’s for sure. But we don’t exactly fit in. Not only are we orphans, uneducated, and living together in a big house in the middle of nowhere, but we have superpowers.
I know what you’re thinking. No, my brothers are not Superman or Iron Man, (though Cameron the two-year-old can get a little Hulkish sometimes). And I’m certainly no Wonder Woman. No, we’re just regular kids with a little sprinkle of extra and a whole pound of unusual added to the mix.
Like most kids, we get into trouble. It seems to follow us sometimes. I can’t tell if it’s because of the no parents thing, or the superpower thing. Either way, we seem to have a knack for getting into sticky situations—and I’m not talking about the time Emma spilled apple juice all over the kitchen floor.
No, I’m talking about situations like right now. The nine of us are sprinting down a long grassy field, pursued by two men in a truck. I glance back. Oh, and there’s also a dog in the back. Can’t forget him; he’s barking his freaking head off.
We reach a barbed wire fence and I hold the barbs up for my siblings to pass under. Once they’re through, I take one more look back at the crazy dude with the shotgun and the mongrel dog before shimmying under myself.
“Sam, come on!” Bruce, my eleven-year-old brother shouts over his shoulder.
I pull myself out from under the fence and scramble to my feet. I start to take a step, but my leg gets yanked out from under me and I fall in the dirt. Spitting out grass, I mutter, “Shoot,” before pulling myself up onto my elbows and rolling over onto my back to look at what caught my foot.
My jeans are caught in the wire. I give it a tug, and my jeans rip, the barbed tooth of the wire digging into my flesh. I grit my teeth against the sudden pain. I quickly reach down and untangle myself, then sprint after my siblings, fully aware of the distance the farmer is gaining on us.
As I run up beside Haley, she says, “I am not healing you for that considering this was your stupid idea.”
“Fine,” I say back, listening to that monster of a dog’s crazy bark, “I’ll take care of it myself.”
“And how do you plan to do that? You cut it on rusty barbed wire. It’s gonna get infected,” Haley says smugly. Well, as smug as you can be when running for your life.
“Tigers have antiseptic saliva,” Rocky puts in.
“See?” I say to Haley, “Listen to the smart one.”
“I’m not listening to the smart one because the smart one said we had a sixty percent chance of succeeding at this,” Haley says, still refusing to look at either of us.
“Sixteen! I said sixteen percent!” Rocky defends hotly.
“Sam?” Bryn pants, completely ignoring our bickering, “How’re we gonna get away from these guys?”
Right. About that.
“I have a plan,” I say.
I totally don’t have a plan. But I’m the leader. I have to keep up appearances.
“Would you mind sharing that with us?” Rocky says irritably. She’s a year younger than Haley and a whole lot smarter. Shoot, she’s smarter than all of us. Why am I the one making the plans again?
Oh yeah; ‘cause I’m the oldest. Right.
“Head for the woods,” I tell them. Immediately, we veer off the main road and crash into the woods as a group.
“Bryn, we could use some help,” I shout to her. Bryn can speak to animals. She’s twins with Bruce; who has fire power, (oh, and FYI, he’s also got some digestive issues so unless I keep us stocked up on Gas-X, he’ll blow the whole house up. Literally.).
“I told you not to go near his corn,” Haley says, running closer to me. Her power is healing. But she also has an unhealthy attraction to knives. Watch out for her. “Farmers are very protective of their corn.”
I roll my eyes, just as a herd of horses gallops up to us. I count heads as each of us older ones lifts the younger ones onto their horses. One, two, three, four, five, six…seven. We’re missing one.
“Where’s Alice?” I question.
“Right here,” the six-year-old girl says, appearing by my side. She has the power of invisibility. Creepy, right?
“Okay, stinker,” I say, lifting Cameron onto his horse. Cameron is indestructible. He can’t get hurt—not physically. I envy him, especially considering I’ve still got warm blood oozing down my leg. He also turns into a red monster when he gets mad. Talk about pitching a fit.
I turn to Emma once he’s situated. Emma is eight. She can control water. She often has to extinguish Bruce when he gets too excited. Emma punches me in the stomach, and while I’m bending over clutching my midsection, she scrambles onto my back and climbs onto her horse. It was a love punch. Trust me.
After I recover, I turn to Lizzie. She’s a year younger than Emma. Her power is really creepy. She can control minds if she’s staring into a person’s eyes. So basically, never look her in the eye. Bad idea. She’s also the only one without a horse.
“Be a white one, Sam,” Lizzie says in that cute little girl voice. Sometimes even her voice is mind-controlling.
“Okay,” I reply with a smile. Then I morph into a tall, white horse. Oh, yeah. That’s my superpower. I can shape-shift. Only into animals though. I kneel down so Lizzie can get on my back, then stand again. At a command from Bryn, we’re off—headed back home.
We may not be related, but we’re closer than I ever thought we’d be. This is my family. We call ourselves The Crazy Bunch (fitting, right?). And we’re not to be messed with.
Written by S. G. Glasgow