A teenage boy named Connor discovers that he has been endowed with The Gift, a mysterious force that will change is life forever.
After what seemed like an eternity, the light in the second-story bedroom went off. Now everyone would be asleep. Now it was time to extract the goods. A tall, brooding, ominous figure slid out from between the prickly hedge and the wall of an unsuspecting suburban home. Despite the stiffness in his legs and back from hiding for so long, he maintained a stealthy posture, scanning the dark street for signs of anything that would endanger his mission.
Nothing on the street set it apart from any other street in Suburbia, U.S.A. Middle-class houses with dark windows, most with an average-looking car parked in the driveway, set the scene of this dark October night. Mailboxes, basketball goals, lawn ornaments, and potted plants adorned many of the residences. Occasionally a cat would dart out from underneath a parked car in search of entertainment, but no human life was to be seen. The boy, around seventeen years of age, almost chuckled to himself when he realized how cautious he was. There was little danger of him being caught. Growing up, he had been exceptionally gifted at sneaking around, using his talent to steal candy bars at convenience stores or money at random neighborhood homes. He did his best work at night, exhibiting a strange knack for hiding in the shadows.
It was time to catch the prey. He had known that a Gifted lived in this house for two weeks. This boy – Connor, they call him – had been the center of all of his thoughts and actions since. He’d crept around the local high school, analyzing his behavior, waiting for the Gift to rear its ugly head. He’d memorized Connor’s schedule, learned the names of his friends and teachers, followed him home, watched him argue with his parents, discovered where he slept, and learned all of his other daily habits. He knew about his best friend Ryan, an athletic fifteen-year old who relied on Connor for help with homework. He could also recognize Iris, Connor’s current target of affections. They flirted daily, but Connor was too embarrassed to reveal his true feelings. He watched his father Andrew sneak out of the house late at night to meet up with his clandestine lover, unbeknownst to his wife Jane. Jane was a good mother, albeit slightly oblivious. Connor found it all too easy to sneak out of the house, go to the local park, and smoke to get away from the stress. Even though his parents put on a good front, their arguments behind closed doors had caused deep fractures in the household. The word “divorce” was on the minds of all three family members, never spoken, but always threatening to come crashing down on any given day. Nevertheless, none of these trivial facts mattered. It was obvious that this boy had the Gift, and it was time to collect him. The Gift had to be controlled.
After taking another quick scan up and down the street, the hooded figure made his move. He darted through the shadows, behind bushes and parked cars, until he found himself on the side of Connor’s home. Anyone watching the scene wouldn’t have seen a thing, because the mysterious man was so good at hiding in the shadows. He scanned the street once more, then turned his attention to the basement window visible at the base of the house. Having plotted tonight’s mission several times before, he knew that underneath was a box that would make a great stepstool. His first attempt at opening the window proved futile, for it was locked. Unfazed, he merely pointed at the locked entryway. The shadows around the window grew extremely dark for a few seconds. When they dissipated, the window was not only unlocked, but the lock had disappeared entirely. He quietly opened the window and slipped into the dark, dusty basement.
Displaying nimble, discreet athletic ability, he quietly slipped off of the box and maneuvered through the many odds and ends in the basement. After a short while, he came to the door which, from previous investigations, he knew led to a staircase that would take him up to the ground floor. This one was unlocked, so he slowly turned the doorknob, minimizing the amount of noise he made. Quietly, he began ascending the stairs, careful not to lose his footing. He did not account for the creaky stair midway up. Immediately, he froze, listening for signs that the noise had awoken any of the house’s residents. Ever vigilant, he waited for what seemed like an hour until he heard a creak coming from the home’s other staircase. Judging by the volume of the sound, it had to be Andrew, the heaviest person who lived here. He wasn’t fat, but he wasn’t a twig either. The intruder began crawling up the rest of the stairs and assumed a position hidden in the corner of the living room. He had a perfect view of the hallway leading to the second story stairs, and easily saw the father coming down the stairs, intent on finding the lamp at the base of the stairs.
If that light got turned on, he would be exposed. He would have to use some rather brutal methods to capture Connor, and while that would be entertaining, this was supposed to be a low-key mission. Just as Andrew reached the lamp, the hidden thief instinctively pointed at the lamp. The man attempted to flip the switch, but to no avail. It was firmly stuck in place. Cursing under his breath, he stumbled forward to turn on the ceiling light. Its switch was on the wall directly next to the man hidden in the corner – exactly what he wanted. Keeping his finger trained on the father, he patiently waited until he was within range. The moment he got close enough, the trespasser’s eyes began to glow with black fire, and so did the father’s. Instantly he was frozen in place, and the kidnapper was able to proceed without fear upstairs, where Connor lay sleeping, unaware that his life was about to be changed forever.
Quietly the hunter advanced down the hallway, confident that the mission would succeed. The first door on the right belonged to Connor, something that his kidnapper had known for a long time. He opened the door and entered the room. Inside was exactly what he expected: a complete mess. Clothes scattered on the floor, video games piled in the corner, school bags and books randomly scattered across the room set the scene for the actual kidnapping to take place. “Finally, we’ve got him,” said the mysterious figure to himself. He took his hand and hovered it above his head, casting a dark shadow onto the boy. Slowly, he moved his hand all the way across Connor, a shadow following exactly with his hand motion. Once the boy was fully shrouded by darkness, the man snapped, and the boy was gone.
The mission was a success, but there was still one task to complete before he could leave. He quickly and quietly climbed down the stairs into the living room. Andrew was still frozen in place, positioned to lumber towards the light switch, but held captive by some unseen force. The intruder deftly crept past him into the corner which served as his earlier hiding place. He pointed at the frozen man, who instantly unfroze. As if nothing had happened, Andrew lunged forward to reach the switch, desperate to discover the cause of the creaking stair that woke him up.
The light illuminated every crevice of the room. No one was there.