He was potential turned kinetic. With those few furious actions he silenced not only Eric, but the gathering crowd of his peers. He stopped and sat still for a moment, in shocked contemplation.
Is this how Kirk felt? he thought, thinking back to the Captain’s fight with that Gorn warrior. Somehow, even without the green reptilian suit, Eric felt like much more real of a monster. Ken didn’t know how to feel about this sudden turn of events; he had never acted violently before. He felt flush with power. Conquest is easy. Control is not.
At the end, Eric had went from aggressor to defender. With that last blow, his shielding hands fell limp to the ground. Ken stood. “What the hell are you looking at?!” he screamed at the crowd. “I just wanted to go home!” He felt tears welling up under his glasses. He yanked his head around, desperately looking for any sign of understanding from his classmates. He saw only silence.
Ken ran from that stillness. He ran into the woods, where the rustling wind and bird sounds refilled the void in his ears. He ran until his gasping overwhelmed him. He dropped to the ground, finding comfort in the dead leaves. When he had finally regained control, he realized that it had become dark. His watch read 4:12 PM. He punched in some calculations on it to be sure it was still working and the beep of each button press echoed and warped into the forest around him.
He glanced back up and shook as he saw the form now before him. He cautiously backed up to a nearby tree, squinting and straining to make out who it was that had appeared so suddenly. Even though the figure was maybe ten feet in front of Ken, it was wholly nondescript. “Wh-who are you?” Ken stuttered, too afraid to waste time cleaning his glasses.
A thick, accented female voice responded slowly, “I saw what you did.” As the words slipped out of her mouth, Ken felt each one crawl across his skin with a thousand tiny legs.
“I had no choice!” Ken retorted desperately. “I don’t know what else to do! Cretins like Eric only understand power!”
“Is that what you would call what you did?”
“Do you think that your ‘power’ will stop him?”
“I-I don’t know,” Ken admitted, feeling a little more hopeless than before.
“I can help.” she whispered. “I can give you power. I can energize you to face that boy again.”
Ken felt his stomach drop through the floor. Each of her words seemed to clasp and pull him downward. This does not sound good. He had read countless books that started with corrupting power. He knew that if even whole fellowships struggled to contain it, he didn’t stand a chance. But he also knew that he was done with Eric and his goons, and that after he stood up to them today, tomorrow would be even worse. I can’t stand another day of them.
“Okay,” he responded resolutely. “Show me.”
“Good. Follow me,” the figure stated as she turned and drifted through the forest. Ken followed.