“I have not slept in so, so long.” Harold picked up his mug and sipped from it. Waiting for the reaction from his friend. The one he had called over for this exact conversation.
“How long are we talking?” George asked, eyeing him. “This is not like that time in college, is it?”
“No, no, nothing like that. That was weak sauce compared to this. I have not slept in… huh, I think it was twenty days now. It has been a major boon to my work cycle, I tell you that. I have gotten all the projects done I was ever planning on getting done in the last week or so.”
George tilted his head, the concern evident on his face—as was the disbelief.
“Give or take—I have not been keeping an exact count. When you don’t sleep, it’s more for other people that you keep a calendar.”
“You should be dead.”
Harold finished his tea and tossed the mug up, over his head, and caught it with the other hand. “And yet, I am very much not dead.”
George nearly dropped his own mug, staring in further disbelief.
“How did you even do that…?”
“A special concoction—it’s in the tea—do tell me how it feels? It activates when you have water next. Like, it has to be natural spring water.”
George stared down at his mug and frowned. “This has an experimental chemical in it?”
“Oh, yeah—like a lot of it.” Harold smiled and tossed the mug into the sink with almost no effort. It did not break; it did not crack. Simply sent up a massive splash of water.
“So, you poisoned me, then?” George asked.
“That’s not the word I would use,” Harold said. “But, yes.”
George sat deadly still, thinking. He wanted to be angry—he wanted to yell. Scream. Maybe call poison control. But he also had this…calm growing in him. It was made of fuzz and haze. It was the vibration of something superheated.
“You said I needed to have water for it to kick in?”
“What did you think the tea was boiled with?” came the cocky reply from Harold. “This was fun for me when it happened—so enjoy.”
“You are a prick—”
Georges’ eyes went wider than they had ever before. They nearly popped out of their sockets. His pupils were black voids of darkness. At the tips of his fingers were shivering motions. He took a step out of the chair—and did not notice he had moved until after he had. Walking was more like gliding.
Moving was more an afterimage.
And, with one great pop, the slight tiredness, the slight exhaustion he had felt for most of his adult life, was gone. It simply ceased. The white noise stopped after years of growing accustomed and tuning it away.
And his shoulders dropped as the rush stopped, and he was simply beyond tiredness. The sharpness of his mind was unearthly. Everything around him was slow, even when it had no motion to it.
Throwing and catching a mug, as it turned out, was more like passing it between hands—just with more physics.
“So, are you mad?” Harold asked.
George wanted to say yes, but, as he noticed that all his anxious feelings were gone, too, he had to give it to him.
“Nah… this is pretty fucking rad, actually.”
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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“Just Another Chosen One is a blisteringly paced, action-soaked debut from author Brandon Scott, sure to appeal to those who’ve gotten tired of reading the same old stories about the child of prophecy destined to save the world.”