Kyd Magenta runs downstairs, ready to head off to school–jumping from the fifth step to save time–and heads to the kitchen. His father, Curtis Magenta, is at the table with his face buried in the Daily News while his mother, Maggie Magenta, brings over two cups of coffee–black–from the counter. Kyd takes off his backpack and sits, his father peeks over the newspaper with suspicious eyes trained on Kyd–feeling his father’s gaze and not daring to look up. His mother, on the other hand, places a plate of eggs, bacon, and waffles in front of him and Kyd takes in the aroma with pleasure. Curtis Magenta still has his eyes on Kyd, barely noticing when Maggie places his plate on the table; Kyd looks up then quickly away–knowing what his father is waiting for.
“Do it,” Curtis says.
Kyd points his finger at a fork in the dishrack by the sink and pulls it back, the fork levitates and comes toward Kyd and he catches the fork like a pitcher catches a baseball. Curtis looks on with smiling eyes and goes back to his paper.
“I never get tired of that,” He says.
“Curtis,” Maggie says while washing the dishes, “are you going to talk to him or not?”
“I figured we should all be at the table for this,”
“For what?” Kyd asks with nervous eyes looking between his parents.
“Don’t worry Kyd,” Curtis says, “you’re not in trouble.”
Curtis gives him that suspicious, fatherly look again, “Unless…there’s something you want to tell us?”
Kyd looks to his mom who’s gone back to the dishes, then the ceiling, then the lime green walls, then into the light blue living room, then to his plate. He takes a bite, the chewing and crunching inside his head sounds far away–as if on some distant planet–his heartbeat speeds up gradually and sweat starts to drip from his brow and temple, his father’s gaze feeling like a sun ray when its trained on a specific part of your body. Curtis smirks behind the newspaper and Kyd knows from his eyes that Curtis is joking. Kyd relaxes and gives his father an annoyed look, Curtis laughs.
“Why’re you always trying to scare the boy, Curtis?” Maggie shakes her head as she finishes up the last of the dishes and dries her hands. She makes herself a plate then comes over to the table, Curtis folds the paper up and lays it over his lap.
“Alright, Kyd,” Curtis starts, “your mother and I think you’re old enough to be walking to school by yourself.” He continues, “your mother had some reservations at first but–seeing that you’re in the sixth grade now and most sixth graders don’t need to be babysat–we came to an agreement. We won’t be driving you anymore, starting today.”
“However,” Curtis continues, “there are a few rules and conditions,”
Of course, there are Kyd thinks but knows better than to say out loud.
Kyd nods to confirm he’s listening.
“First,” Curtis starts, “don’t walk by any alleys. Predators have been known to wait there for kids coming out of school, in the shadows. They wait until the kids are almost out of reach then snatch them at the last minute, and god knows what happens to those poor kids after. So, when you see an alleyway, what do you do?”
“Cross the street.” Kyd answers.
“That’s my boy,” Curtis reaches over and ruffles Kyd’s afro gently, careful not to mess it up because picks aren’t allowed on school grounds, metal or otherwise.
“Second,” Maggie picks up, “don’t use your powers under any circumstances. Unless your life is in danger.”
“Uh uh, none of that nodding business,” Maggie says, “I wanna hear you say it.”
“I will not use my powers under any circumstances unless my life is in danger,” Kyd says, using the same emphasis and holding his mother’s gaze.
“Alright,” she says, “anything else, Curtis?”
“Hmm,” Curtis thinks, “no, that should be it.”
“Alright, let’s go over it again,” She says, “what are the two conditions, Kyd?”
“Never walk by an alleyway and cross the street when I see one, and never use my powers under any circumstances–unless my life is in danger.”
“Alright,” Maggie says, finally relaxing but still looking a bit worried.
“Now eat your breakfast and git,” Curtis says, “you’ll be late.”
“Yes sir,” Kyd eats his breakfast, makes the dishes levitate and places them in the sink, grabs his backpack, and walks toward the door–waving his parents’ goodbye–and closes it behind him.
“You think he’s gonna be alright, Curt?” Maggie asks.
“He’ll be fine,” Curtis digs into his plate of food, “besides, he’s a resourceful kid. A bit cheeky, but resourceful.” He chews and swallows, “if anything happens, he’ll come out alright.”
“He better,” Maggie drinks her coffee and gets up from the table, not touching her food, “this was your idea, after all.”
Curtis finishes his food and goes back to the paper and Maggie goes upstairs to their room to change clothes and get ready for work.
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