Anna was at the park by the river, waiting for her best friend, Tabitha.
“You’re not going to believe this,” she blurted out when Tabitha sat down.
“Believe what?” Tabitha stared at Anna to see what she was going to say.
“You can’t tell anyone! Promise?” Anna lowered her voice so no one else could hear and looked very serious.
“I promise,” said Tabitha, “What is it?”
Anna leaned forward and said very quietly, “I found a glowing pink rock from space and it gave me super powers.”
Tabitha laughed loudly and said, “OK, and I am the Queen of Mars.”
“Stop laughing, I’m serious.” Anna was starting to get angry. She pulled the rock out of her pocket and showed it to Tabitha.
Tabitha looked at the rock and then stared at Anna, not sure exactly what she was seeing, then said, “Uh, you’re floating.”
“See,” Anna said as she settled back down into her seat. “I can fly, I can run superfast and jump six feet high…and I can hear animals talk.”
“How did it happen?” asked Tabitha.
“I was sitting on my porch last night when I saw a pink light fall into the woods by my house,” Anna explained. “I went to check it out and found a glowing pink rock that seemed to be calling to me. I touched it and there was a giant pink flash … and I fainted. When I woke up, I was floating above the ground.”
“You must have been terrified.” Tabitha said.
“I ran home and hid under my bed. Only it seemed like I had run ten times as fast as normal, and I jumped over the creek without a problem. I was so scared I could hardly breathe,” Anna said, leaning forward, “until my fish talked to me.”
“Really, Mr. Fins talked to you?”
“Well actually,” said Anna, “his name is Marion, and he told me it was going to be okay, that I was chosen to be a Galactic Girl.”
“No way, Mr. Fins said that?” said Tabitha, “He’s just a dumb goldfish.”
“He said people would react that way, and not to tell anyone. I’m only telling you because you’re my best friend. But you can’t tell anyone.” Anna looked very serious.
“It’s our secret.” Said Tabitha. “No one would believe me anyway. But what are you going to do? And what is a Galactic Girl?”
“My powers only work when I’m angry, scared, or hear an animal that’s in trouble. So mostly, I’m going to save animals. I guess that’s what Galactic Girls do.” Anna sat silently for a minute and stared at the river.
“Cool,” said Tabitha,” do you get a superhero outfit or anything?”
“This isn’t a movie,” said Anna, “I’m just me.”
“You don’t look like a superhero,” Tabitha said as they were on their way to school the next day.
Tabitha was right. Anna was just under five feet tall, had curly hair that tended to go wherever it wanted to, and big round glasses she had worn since she was six.
“That’s the point. I’m not really a superhero, I just have some super powers.” Anna rubbed the rock in her sweater pocket.
“I still think you should have a costume – Galactic Girl, Saver of the Universe.” Tabitha tended to be a little dramatic.
“Nobody is supposed to know,” said Anna. “It’s really important.”
“I know, I know,” said Tabitha. “I’m just saying…”
“Quiet.” Said Anna.
“What?” asked Tabitha.
“Someone’s in trouble”
“Who?” Tabitha hadn’t heard anything.
“Theodore the Tortoise. He fell off a ridge and ended up on his back and can’t turn over.”
“Really, Theodore is his name?” asked Tabitha.
“Stay here.” Said Anna, and she dashed off into the woods. When she returned a minute later, she said. “That was close, he was about to be someone’s lunch.”
“This is very weird,” said Tabitha as she handed Anna her backpack.
“Think how I feel,” said Anna.
After school that afternoon in the school yard, some boys had cornered a baby goat, named Gilbert, and were trying to capture it in a bag. Anna heard it calling for help. She ran to where the boys were gathered around the goat and said, “Let it go!”
“Get lost, little girl!” said one of the boys.
“Gladly,” said Anna, and she grabbed Gilbert and ran off so fast that the boys couldn’t follow her. When she was safely in the woods, she sat Gilbert down and said “You’re free little Gilbert”
As Gilbert ran off he bleated, “Thank you, Galactic Girl.”
When Anna got back to the school yard, everyone was talking about how some girl had stood up to the older boys and saved a goat.
“That’s not good,” said Anna, who felt a slight shudder run through her. “People aren’t supposed to know.”
The next morning, there was an article in the paper about the girl who had saved a goat. When Tabitha showed it to her, Anna felt a tingling ion her arms and she could feel her powers fading a little.
“It was supposed to be a secret,” she said to Tabitha. “What am I going to do now?”
“Don’t worry,” said Tabitha. “No one will remember that it’s you.”
Tabitha left to go down by the river and Anna sat on a bench, thinking about what to do, when a friend from school walked by and said, “Hi Anna.” Maybe Tabitha was right.
Anna’s thoughts were interrupted by the voice of a cat yelling, “Help us!”
She walked toward the sound and saw Tabitha in the middle of the river holding up a cat and trying to swim with one arm. “Help us,” said Tabitha.
“She fell in the river trying to help the cat,” said a woman on the bank. “Someone help her.”
“Help us, Galactic Girl,” said the cat.
Anna didn’t want to show off her powers with so many people around, but the people on the riverbank couldn’t reach Tabitha, who was starting to float towards the falls.
Anna took a big breath, ran three steps and jumped into the air, flying over the crowd of people and down the river toward Tabitha and the cat, Caleb. When she got to them, Tabitha reached up and grabbed Anna’s hand. Caleb jumped onto Anna’s back and said, “Thank you, Galactic Girl!”
Anna pulled Tabitha toward the shore but the current was getting stronger and her powers were fading. She looked at the rock in her pocket and it looked dimmer.
“I’m not sure I can make it, Tabitha,” she said.
“You can do it, Galactic Girl,” said Caleb.
Anna was starting to get dragged down the river with Tabitha but reached out and grabbed a tree branch. Caleb scrambled off her into the tree and she was able to slowly pull Tabitha in until she could grab ahold of the tree as well.
Anna shuddered as if she had a chill and felt very weak. She climbed onto the riverbank with Tabitha and they both flopped on the ground. Caleb jumped down from the tree, walked over, and sat on Anna.
“Good job, Galactic Girl,” said Caleb.
“You saved me,” said Tabitha.
“What’s the point of having superpowers if you can’t save your best friend,” replied Anna. She pulled the rock out of her pocket and it was completely black, as if it was swallowing all the light around it.
“I think too many people saw me,” she said. “My powers seem to be gone.”
“I’m sorry,” said Tabitha.
“It’s okay, it was fun, but a little scary. I’m happy just being Anna.
“Don’t get too comfortable,” said the cat. “The world needs heroes.”
Anna wasn’t sure why she was still hearing the cat. She looked down at the rock in her hand and saw a faint pink glow. She smiled to herself, slipped the rock in her pocket, and said, “Come on, Tabitha. Let’s go before anyone gets here.”