22nd July 1991
"It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight …" blared the headphones connected to the blue Sony Walkman, currently atop Mark's head. It swayed to the beats as he read the book in front of him. The room in which he was now seated was a reflection of its owner in every sense; a wall on the left had a tall bookshelf beside the dresser, filled with old books that Mark had 'rescued' from the library at Mom's old house in Hampshire, while the one beside it was covered with band posters of The Who, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, and the Beatles. In front of it, were guitars placed on their stands, as well as other equipment related to it. Mark lifted his head to momentarily admire his new guitar resting in on its stand in its full glory.
'Dad really outdid himself'. It had been eight months since he had gotten the black and gold masterpiece, and he still went giddy thinking about it. 'Well, it did pay to not have read Dad beforehand. The surprise was totally worth it.' He wondered if there was someone at his school who could be a good drummer to form a band. His classmate Steve was only average on the guitar, but he was a decent bassist; so, all they needed was a good drummer and they could jam. Realising that his thoughts had drifted away from the page in front of him, he closed his eyes and refocused on his breath, remembering the meditation technique Edwin had taught him to control his ability.
'Well, the old man certainly didn't have much idea, even though his method worked pretty damn well'. It was the truth. The old staff sergeant from his dad's old regiment certainly had no idea how to help an eight-year-old who could hear the thought of everyone around him. But he had helped the best he could, for he had seen the pain in Mark's eyes as he was plagued by the multitude of silent cries filled with pain, witnessed during the many hospital visits with John. Within six months of guided meditation, Mark had improved dramatically.
Mark wondered if he was a mutant, just like Professor Xavier from the X-men comics he had borrowed from Steve. The only difference he could find was that Mark wasn't able to project anything to anyone else's mind. Perhaps he was a bit like the red-head Jean Grey, since he had managed to levitate a book when he was younger, and spun that coin in his palm a few weeks ago. He hadn't told anyone about that yet, except his dad, who had just smiled softly. He was a bit afraid of what people would say if they found out; he knew they usually reacted to the unknown in pretty violent ways.
Opening his eyes after about five minutes, Mark felt the fleeting emptiness of his mind, and satisfied, he set to resume reading the page in front of him. A few minutes in, the doorbell rang, followed by his dad's voice. "Don't get up, I got this." He returned to the book, and to the description of vector algebra on the page, illuminated under the bright summer sun shining in through the window.
The bright summer sun shined on Harry as worked, kneeling beside the garden beds he was weeding. He hummed a tune in his head; he didn't want to risk doing it aloud, as he wondered about the punishment that he had gotten for the zoo incident. It had been Dudley's birthday, and after a long argument regarding Harry's fate, they had decided that he would accompany them on their trip to the Zoo. Harry had been secretly happy about this, and the day had gone great; that is until they entered the reptile house and encountered the boa constrictor.
'Well it wasn't its fault' Harry thought, 'It just wanted to be free. Just like me', he added after a moment's contemplation. He often wondered when he would be free of the life he was living, and what he would do after. Maybe once he was eighteen, he could get some work doing labour work in London. Or perhaps even work as a clerk in some office; even after all his efforts to downplay his competence, his marks weren't that bad. "Boy, you better not mess up my yard!" came Uncle Vernon's voice from inside the house. Harry hated Sundays; there were double the chores, there was no school to escape to, and Uncle Vernon would be home, eager to torment him. 'Just eight more years of this' he grumbled to himself, turning his attention back to the weeds before him
Harry didn't expect any sort of affection from the Dursleys; he had given hope on that long ago. He wondered whether he would have a heart attack from shock if they suddenly decided to be nice to him. He often thought of his parents, and wondered if they were hiding somewhere instead of being dead; maybe they were secret agents, like the ones on the movies on the telly, out there saving the world. Or maybe they were just like his aunt claimed them to be; deadbeat good-for-nothings who got killed in an accident while driving drunk.
His thoughts were interrupted again by a tall shadow behind him. "How far along are you?", came the nasal twang of his aunt from behind him. "Just about halfway done. I'll let you know when I'm finished, Aunt Petunia" replied Harry with a forced, but polite obedience. She looked shiftily at him, then glanced around the yard, as if expecting something to appear. "Don't try to be clever, freak. Just get the work done," she replied, before re-entering the house.
'That's odd' Harry pondered, 'She's been doing that ever since I've been let out of my room.' Harry had been locked in his room for almost an entire month as punishment for letting the Boa Constrictor loose on Dudley's birthday. It was much better than the one he had gotten after apparently being responsible for changing the hair of one of his primary teacher to blue. That had earned him a month in the cupboard, with almost no food. At least this time he was in the room.
His room. The only thing that could be called his were the few school things he owned. If Dudley had been a year above him, he would have had to make do with Dudley's old school stuff too. 'At least it would be unused,' he joked to himself. There was the bolt on the door, used to lock him in, along with the cat flap they sometimes used to feed him; that had been installed for him. The rest of the house, however, held no evidence that a fourth member lived there. All the photos featured just Dudley, and occasionally Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.
He remembered the tantrum that Dudley had thrown when his storeroom of toys was given to Harry. Uncle Vernon had raised his voice for the first time at Dudley, since Aunt Petunia had heard rumours of child service raids happening somewhere in Surrey, and they didn't want a child being found sleeping in the cupboard-under-the-stairs. Of course, the reason they had given Harry was that he was becoming too grown up for the cupboard.
Hearing a commotion, Harry turned toward the street. 'Shit'. Dudley and his gang were coming up the street, and they would most likely want to play their favourite game- Harry Hunting. He started to work faster, hoping to be finished before then, so he could at least have the chance to escape his bullies.