When I snuck into my school’s science lab that night, I didn’t think I was accidentally going to blow it all up. I didn’t think finding a rock in Tennessee would lead to having superpowers, either, but here we are.
A few years ago, I visited Tennessee with my family during summer vacation. We had taken a tour that took us through an entire crystalized cave that practically glowed. While on the tour, I soon realized that the rocks and crystals weren’t naturally glowing, but were lit up with LED lights. Which is why when I found a blue rock glowing on the floor, I thought it was just because of the lights. There were thousands of rocks scattered among the cave and you were only supposed to buy them from the tourist shop, but what harm could it do to take a lone rock off the floor? More than I thought, apparently.
I kept that rock on my windowsill for years, dust settling over it every day. I never really thought about it, even when sometimes I thought that the rock might still be glowing. My mom never noticed it when she came to fix up my room and it wasn’t an awfully interesting rock, to say the least. However, the night after my sixteenth birthday, I woke up blinded by a blue light. It had to be past midnight when I woke up, but not early enough for the sun to start rising.
I climbed out of bed and drowsily stumbled over to where the light was coming from, partly shielding my eyes. I stopped at my windowsill and looked down at the little blue rock. Impulsively, I stuck out my finger and pressed it against the rock. When nothing happened, I picked the whole thing up and held it closed tightly in my palm. Blue light seeped out from in between my fingers and I felt my hand begin to tingle slightly.
I quickly panicked and placed it back on my windowsill. It still glowed. I was starting to grow more annoyed and just wanted to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t with my room being so bright.
I squinted at the rock for a long time, hoping that it would suddenly stop glowing. Was this just some cruel trick? Maybe this is the karma I get from stealing the rock off the cave floors.
Minutes passed and I was finally at my limit. Maybe it was because I was delusionally tired or maybe I had just gone stupid or overly frustrated, but my mind told me to chuck it out the window and be done with it. So, I opened my window and gripped the rock. Squinting in the blue light, I threw it. I watched as it flew outside, lighting up the entire street.
Then it stopped.
The rock floated in the air outside my window. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me at first. But then the blue light began to dim down and I saw it there, hovering at the same height as my window. I was on the top floor of my house.
With every hair on my body standing upright, I watched as the rock gravitated back towards me. It rested back into the palm of my hand, that had been held out, frozen in shock.
By the next day, I had come up with a plan. The curiosity of what was inside the rock and making it glow began to grow inside of me. Maybe there was nothing, but there could also be something. I couldn’t wrap my head around that night. It felt like a dream, it had to be a dream. It was impossible. But if the rock just randomly glows like it did every night, then I wanted to destroy it for good, if it even could be destroyed.
I stayed after school the next day. I told my parents I was sleeping over my friend’s house, but they didn’t really care. I sat in the science lab for hours that day, doing absolutely nothing but scribbling on a piece of paper and waiting for the only other person in the lab to leave. It was a girl who sat at the very first table in the room. She was hunched over something, but I could barely see since I placed myself in the very back. She was in there for hours and I was getting more and more impatient as the minutes ticked away.
Finally, around six p.m., I had drawn all over seven sheets of paper and the girl began to pack up her stuff. I saw her slide what looked like a metal gauntlet into her bag. I could tell she knew I was staring because when she lifted her head, she looked directly at me.
I averted my gaze back down to my paper.
“The security guards get mad if anyone is in here past six.”
I looked back up. “Oh, okay.”
She slung her backpack over her shoulder and asked, “What were you doing in here for so long?”
I shrugged and motioned towards the paper sprawled out on the table. Her bottom lip rose slightly. I couldn’t tell if it was in disgust or pity.
“Whatever,” she said finally, before turning off the lamp at her desk and walking out.
I waited a few minutes before letting out a sigh of relief and leaping up from my chair. I raced over to the door and locked it, then turned off all the lights. I figured that the security would lock this room up the tightest. Some of the equipment in here was more expensive than what it costs to actually go to the school, which is a lot.
Now the only thing left to do was to wait. I huddled in the back corner of the room and stared at the ceiling. I waited and waited until I heard the door handle jiggle, faint mumbling, then silence.
Slowly, after many minutes ticked by, I crept out from where I was sitting and made my way to the table where the girl once sat. That was the table with the school’s only laser cutter. If a student needed to use it, they had to get special permission from the school board, and they rarely ever said yes. I wondered what that girl had to do to get their permission.
I sat down on the stool and pulled the rock out from my pocket. I opened up the glass lid of the laser cutter and placed it in the center. After shutting the lid, I scooted over to where a small keyboard was attached to the machine. I typed in a few codes, took in a breath, and pressed enter.
The machine lit up and the small laser inside began to move towards the rock. I clenched my jaw, waiting for something to happen.
The laser turned on once it reached the rock. The second the red laser hit the rock, blue light beamed from the machine. I fell back off the stool, hands over my eyes. Suddenly, I felt the floor begin to vibrate beneath me. Then, the whole room felt like it was shaking.
The last thing I remember was watching the laser cutter explode with blue light.