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Monday, July 29, 2019

Microstory 1156: Kyle K. Stanley

Kyle Stanley first learned that some people had special abilities when he was thirteen years old. Two men broke into his house, presumably because they thought it was empty. But Kyle was an unruly child, who never considered the consequences of his actions, and just didn’t feel like going to school that day. It was his parents’ fault for moving within walking distance of his school, he figured. At first, he hid in his parents’ closet, but then he started thinking about how he would explain that to his friends. He knew his parents, and any other adult, would commend him for staying out of sight, but his peers were harsh, and would have teased him for not having protected his territory. He would grow up to realize that they would have hid as well, and would have also grown up to recognize that that was the best call, but right now, it felt like cowardice. As he heard them approaching the bedroom, he sought a weapon nearby, and settled on this long plastic thing he would later realize belonged to his mother, and that he should not have touched it. He burst through the door with his warcry, hoping to scare them off before they got into a real fight, but it just spooked one of the intruders, who instinctively pulled a gun. Kyle heard the shot, and saw that it was pointed right towards him at pretty much point blank, but it did not hit him. The other intruder had one hand up towards him, almost protectively. He noted to his partner, the shooter, that Kyle was but a child, and they needed to get out of there. The shooter took his partner by the shoulder, and they both disappeared. A neighbor two doors down claimed to have heard the shot as well, but there was no evidence of it in Kyle’s house. They couldn’t find the bullet, or the shell, or anything. He guessed that the non-shooter had powers, and used them to teleport the bullet somewhere else. The police guessed that he was just using blanks, but they didn’t see the partner’s face. He was distraught about having nearly been an accomplice to some form of murder. They also didn’t see the two of them teleport from the room.

For the most part, temporal manipulators are hard to find. When they discover what they can do, they’re almost always alone. There’s this theory going around that, even though the powers that be don’t have control over choosing ones, they exercise as much control as they can to prevent one’s secret from getting out before they even have a chance to understand it themselves. No one suddenly appears in that moment, and hands them a guidebook, or gives them a list of time travel rules, but they usually don’t want anyone else knowing about them anyway. Most of them automatically know the unwritten rules, because they’re pretty obvious. They generally reason that they can’t logically be the only ones, but they’ve also never heard of anyone else, so it’s probably meant to remain a secret. Still. Once a human does encounter enough evidence to be sure of the existence of time travelers, it becomes easier for them to spot, because they’re making a point of looking for it. Kyle didn’t tell anyone else about what he had seen, because he wasn’t being blamed for the robbery, so it just wasn’t necessary for him to have an excuse they wouldn’t believe anyway. He started researching the phenomena, and seeking others like the burglars. He ended up stumbling upon the very man himself. He was still distraught over what happened, and confirmed Kyle’s suspicions about how he had spirited the bullet to some otherwise inaccessible dimension. Kyle was okay, especially after seeing how this guy lived. He was practically homeless. He had hooked up with his partner a month before the incident, but didn’t know him that well. He was a teleporter, and a thief, whose life was totally fine without it. The Ostracizer, on the other hand, was just trying to get by. He could banish things to this other dimension, and retrieve them later, but he was not a seasoned criminal. Kyle and the Ostracizer became friends, and years later, after the former passed the bar exam, he helped his friend with some legal trouble. Kyle realized he was in the perfect position for this; protecting people with time powers against a system that doesn’t know they exist. That was when he opened his own practice. He didn’t have to do it alone, though.

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