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My advice for you: if they offer you a choice, don’t choose anything flashy, chose something smart. When I think of flashy powers, I see my former classmate, Jake juggling fireballs, and I still cringe inwardly at his choice. My heart always raced when it seemed that he might set something on fire. Again, I warn you not to choose a power like his, or you might end in deep trouble, just like Jake. When I was as ignorant as you, I was going to choose the power to be able to control the weather. If you think that sounds cool, you’re wrong. Another acquaintance of mine who wanted an ostentatious power, like Jake’s, chose to be able to control the weather as I had always dreamed. I fear that I might have influenced her. She ended up just like Jake; in deep trouble and no way out.

In this crazy world, the smartest people always seem to be gone quicker than others. I thought that it would be great to be smart, an amazing gift that I would die for. I was wrong. This society has turned against them in a crazy game of trickery. At first, when the scientists came back from space with new materials and engineered them into a source of “magic” that was able to give anyone a superpower, we were all impressed. Now that I have learned the bittersweet working of the universe, I realized that they fooled us all. They were only luring us in, like flies to honey.

Some thought it was a trick because they offered it to the top ten highest scoring ninth graders in the biggest school in the capital city. They thought it was just a trick to motivate the students. I’ll tell you now, they also were wrong. At the time, as an oblivious ninth grader, I didn’t understand what was wrong with the offer. In fact, I was determined to get in the top ten students.

But there was a problem: I wasn’t smart. I couldn’t memorize things or even remember them. I’m very slow at learning things. I wasn’t like the guy in my class who could learn anything in the blink of an eye or the girl who had a photographic memory. But as I mentioned earlier, I was determined. Something I learned that year was that hard work pays off more than talent.

I had one trait which helped me succeed: creativity. I created songs to help me learn and drew little comics. I coated my walls in Spanish words. I guess, in the end, it was creativity that saved my life.

I never thought I’d even be close, but surprisingly, I managed to achieve the title of the tenth smartest student in my school. I was qualified to get a superpower, along with Adam, Abigail, Sara, Saffron, Judah, William, Jess, Lila, and Jake. This same list was later on the military’s ‘to exterminate’ list.

My classmates thought that they wanted an amazing power to show their strength. We were so excited and naive when we found we would be the ones getting ‘superpowers’. It was like a dream come true to us.

The day when the scientists came to our school, I still hadn’t decided what power I wanted, and I was stressed out over it. Luckily for me, they called everyone up by who was ranked the smartest. I was dead last.

Adam went up first, looking like a batter, who had never batted before, stepping up to plate. A scientist came and introduced himself, with a grand smile, told us how proud of us he was. At the time he reassured me with his soft smile, while I was brainstorming superpower idea. and asked Adam what power he wanted. He turned to face Adam with great flair and asked what he wanted as a superpower. Adam ran his hand nervously through his hair and answered in a small voice that he wanted the power to grow trees quickly. Another scientist began mixing a mixture for ‘plant growth powers’. As he was mixing, Abigail was then called up, and shakily responded with that she wanted weather powers. As more students went up and told the scientists what power they wanted, I grew more and more anxious. I had no idea what I wanted. The last student before me was Jake, probably the most confident one of us all, went up and with a smile, he asked for the power of fireballs.

They called my name, and I stumbled across the floor to the table where the scientists were with no grace whatsoever. The scientist, who I had long forgotten his name, asked me what power I wanted. I made a dumb move, I said the first thing that popped into my head: duplication. As soon, as I had said it, the room went silent. The scientist nodded and told that it was possible, but I could only duplicate myself once. I nodded, too nervous to say anything.

The next day, we were called back to the school. The scientist injected the “magic space potion” into us. If you think this is the part where this story takes a drastic turn, and the “magic” isn’t actually real and it doesn’t work, you’re wrong. This is the part where it works.

Thunder crackled above us, as Abigail raised her hand up, grinning in delight. Adam picks up an old pot of soil, he had brought with him, and a sunflower bloomed out from the dirt, appearing like magic. Jake lit a fireball on the palm of his hand, then after realizing he was now fireproof, tossed it to the other hand.

As for me, I stood face to face with myself. I don’t know if you can, but imagine you were born with only one eye and then you suddenly got a second eye, a new viewpoint that merged together with your old viewpoint. That’s what I now saw. Moving around, at first, was like trying to rub your stomach, and pat your head at the same time. It took skill and practice.

It took me the entire summer to learn how to use my powers. I faced it with the same determination I had faced my schoolwork with that year. When we came back to school, I felt like a champion. The first day, everyone forgot about me having a superpower, and all the attention was focused on the other students who received powers. Jake had learned to juggle and was showing off in the hallways, as I walked along lonely.

But I did have a trick up my sleeve. The first time we had a quiz that year, I showed up to take the quiz, not having studied at all. My duplicate was at home studying for me at that very moment. I didn’t know the answer to number six, my duplicate just studied the topic it was on, and then I figured out the correct answer. I aced the quiz and every single quiz, test, even pop quiz after that. No one even tried to figure out what I was doing.

In my art class, which none of the other kids with powers were in, I was barely listening to the teacher, I was more listening to the tv that my duplicate was watching. I got interrupted by a news flash, which really annoyed me at first. But then, I saw what it was about.

“The Ten Students with Superpowers Have Been Marked as Dangerous.” The news line read. I quickly switched to the news channel, all my attention now focused on this. This was the moment where I realized it was all a trick. They wanted to get rid of all the smart kids. Why? Because they were jealous, I realized later. The scientists were mad because they made the discovery of a lifetime, but they thought that we would make a better discovery than them and they would never go down in the history books.

That’s how every kid with powers managed to get on the military’s ‘to exterminate’ list, including me. They tracked us down, even though we tried our best to hide, they found us anyway. It turns out they were always one step ahead of us. They captured all of us in handcuffs that wouldn’t let us use our powers. We were doomed. We were the mice the cats had caught. We were flies caught in honey.

Have you ever experienced a memory, good or bad, that you can remember with vivid detail? That’s how my memory of that night was. The scientist we met at the school, who was so cheerful, who had seemed like he wanted to help us, standing triumphantly in front of us, grinning like a cat who had caught a mouse. He spoke with such emotion, ignoring Abigail’s sobs, about his great plans, to outsmart all of the smartest, to make himself the greatest. He told us of what he had accomplished, that he made the world what it is today. Then with a smile on his face, he pulled out a metal beaker with a steaming liquid and told us about his newest creation. A new colorless, odorless, undetectable liquid that kills the drinker in less than a minute. He then turned around and smirked at us, and asked how we’d like to be his tester. We started screaming, sobbing, shaking, and trying to get out of there. He didn’t listen and told us we had no choice.

Now, you’re probably waiting for our heroic escape or rescue. But there is none. He instructed some other scientists to give the liquid to Abigail first since she was sobbing the most. I couldn’t see because of my tears, but I heard her choking, and I looked up long enough to see her slump to the floor. This is when I truly realized how evil the scientists were. They would kill teenagers to get what they wanted. It truly was a selfish thing they did. To this day, I still miss my classmates. I wished I could have saved them, but I guess there was nothing I could have done.

It was incredibly lucky, that they forgot about my duplicate. They gave the poison to my duplicate, and that’s how I’m still alive today, to write this message. To warn you, to give you advice, to tell you: if they offer you a choice, don’t choose anything flashy, chose something smart. It might just save your life like it did mine. In retrospect, don’t accept “magic” powers at all.

Why does it matter? The scientists are still out there, chasing me down. They’ve caught me many times, but only my duplicate. They can’t touch me, yet. I send this message out as a warning, not to help them, not to accept their offers, because just like me, you might be fooled. Take careful caution of who you lend your trust to.

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