It’s Not Easy Being a Superhero (cont.) by Jason McClean

Adrian was a little ahead of the rest of the class now. They were frantically dropping paper from tongs into sinks, all hissing and steam.

The final sheet of paper was mixed in ethanol and water. The experiment was to see if it would burn or not. He held it over the Bunsen Burner. It lit up immediately, flames starting with a whoosh, surprising him.

That was when Alison screamed. Then a chorus of screams joined in.

Mr Claws jumped up from his desk, “Drop the paper, boy!” he shouted.

Adrian looked round to see who was causing all the fuss.

Britney was staring at him wide-eyed, mouth open, hands pressed against her cheeks. Adrian almost laughed, but then noticed others were gaping at him.

Simon looked as though he was watching open heart surgery. The gory bit with blood pumping.

Michael was cringing, stepping back, eyes fixed not on Adrian, but his hand.

The ethanol and water soaked paper was in full flame in the palm of his hand. There was silence in the room. All eyes were trained on him.

Mr Claws grabbed his arm. “Drop the paper.”

Adrian dropped the paper.

“Your hand,” Mr Claws said. “Does it hurt?” Then, quickly, he turned to a group of pupils. “Go and get the first aid kit and be fast about it.”

Adrian smiled at Mr Claws. “My hand is fine.”

And it was. A little pink, but fine. He flexed it and pulled his arm back.

That was the first time he realised he was different.

That was when he realised he had a superpower.

That was when the trouble started.

Read the full story in Talking Without Being Interrupted.