Sunday, March 22, 2015

#137 Roadworker

I was so grounded. Mom was never going to let me go to Carl’s after school again.

I pedaled faster, watching the road fly by under my bike tires. Be home by five without fail, mom had said. It was five right now, and I was at least twenty minutes away. I meant to leave half an hour ago, but we’d never got to the fifth level of the game before, and I kind of lost track of time.

If only I had some way to get home faster.

As if it could somehow help me get there sooner, I thought about the route I had to take. I imagined myself speeding down Carl’s street, going by the canal, around the corner past the library, cutting through the empty lot, then taking the bike trail through the woods and finally emerging on a street in my neighborhood. The roads appeared in my mind, a network of possibilities. They were rivers of movement, of energy.

The roads weren’t fixed in place, like I thought they were. I could see it now. They were moveable, bendable. I could take the road I was on, and bend it to meet the road in front of my house.

I seized the roads with my mind and pulled. It felt like doing one of those long division problems when you’re dividing a triple digit number into something like fifty million and stuff. Exhausting. I pulled and pulled, the shining streams of the roads bent closer in my mind, and then they touched.

I felt a jolt, like my bike had gone over a curb. The asphalt under my tires was suddenly a different color. I squeezed my hand brakes and my bike skidded to a stop.

Right in front of my house.

Mom was just coming out the front door.

“There you are, Riley,” she said. “I was just coming out to look for you. You’re five minutes late.”

Five minutes? Impossible. Five seconds ago I was only at the end of Carl’s street. All that stuff with the roads, with bending them in my mind, I thought that was my imagination. But here I was!

I tried to call up that glowing road map again, but it wouldn’t come. My brain felt tired, like I’d just finished three chemistry exams in a row.

“Sorry, Mom,” I said. “I lost track of time.” Unsteady, I got off my bike and walked it up onto the sidewalk. I couldn’t help staring around me, not quite believing I was here already. But there was my house, my street, the sugar maple in my front yard I used to climb, and Mom right there telling me I was only five minutes late.

I’d teleported myself! Cool. I wonder if I could do it again.

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