In the morning, Richard walked into his Galactic History class and took a seat. He figured this class would be boring, but it was a requirement for general education. He looked around the room at the students- pretty much a normal mix, from what he’d seen. He turned to the front to face the teacher. His jaw dropped. Not all the way to the floor, but that was because it was still attached to his face. He quickly composed himself and put a pleasant smile on his face. No need to be rude or overdramatic.
Then, the teacher addressed the class. “Greetings everyone. I know you may or may not be surprised to see me. If you aren’t surprised, then let it be known that I am Mr. Smith. Not the professor you thought you were going to have, unless you checked your schedules again this morning. The original professor of this class decided he had too many classes, and wanted to lower his workload. Thus, I took over just a few of his sections of Galactic History. It’s nice to meet you all.”
What a nice introduction. Richard still found it awkward though. Mostly because his father was standing at the front of the room. It was not some other Mr. Smith. He caught Richard’s eye and smiled. At least he hadn’t said anything embarrassing yet. Richard felt it wouldn’t be long, though. He didn’t know his father as the most… mature person all the time. Although, he also hadn’t known he was a teacher. Actually, his knowledge of what job his father had was very little. All he knew is that it sometimes involved travel, but he made it sound like he used to travel a lot more before adopting Richard. Apparently he was, or at least now was, a teacher.
Surprisingly enough, he didn’t do anything to embarrass Richard. In fact, Richard had never seen him so professional. This was the man who would start water fights, or food fights, or tickle fights. He carried Richard around on his shoulders. Yet here he was, giving an overview of galactic history as if it was his natural setting.
Richard stayed after class and waited for everyone to leave. After everyone was gone, Richard got up and started to walk towards his father. However, after he barely stood up he was suddenly in a very tight hug.
“It was so hard to hold back during class! Surprised to see me?”
Well, at least he knew that his dad hadn’t been replaced by someone else.
“Surprised, yes. Very. I thought you went home!”
“I was going to, but then I was worried about you, so I decided to stay. Then a job position opened up, and I took it.”
“That’s great, but won’t that affect… whatever your other job was?”
Richard’s dad had a big smile on his face. This was definitely the one he remembered. Overly energetic and probably too friendly.
“Oh, and Richard, just because I’m your father don’t think you’ll get an easy grade in this class. You’ll do your work just the same as the others.”
“I wasn’t planning any differently.” He hadn’t been. His father had always expected him to do well, but had never pushed him too far.
That night, Richard had a dream. It was like what he experienced when he almost died.
He was, more or less, aware that he was dreaming. He was floating outside of his own body. Well, it was more around his own body. If asked what the distinction was, Richard wouldn’t have been able to say. It felt important though.
In the dream, he just walked around and did normal things. Except, instead of seeing things with his eyes, he saw the strange glow he had experienced before. He was aware of how his body moved and what it sensed, but didn’t really feel it like normal.
It was like being in a different world. Even his thought processes happened differently. It was difficult to explain. He also noticed different things about people. They were things he had no way of knowing. However, he learned things like health, bone structure, muscle density, and other things for which he had no words.
He also wanted different things than normal. The most simple example of this was in the food he ate. In his dream, he could eat pretty much anything. Instead of thinking about taste, or even health, all he thought about was substance. Calories, really. How much energy was contained in the food? The more, the better- mostly. Sometimes this wasn’t the case, because the energy felt more easily… convertible. He didn’t know why that mattered.
Richard didn’t know why any of it mattered, or why he could feel it. It was a strange dream.
When Richard woke up, he felt odd. He remembered his dream. That was odd, but not completely unprecedented. It didn’t seem to be quickly fading either. This wasn’t really the weird part, however. He remembered the dream, and it should have felt weird. It did feel weird. At the same time, it felt perfectly natural. How could he feel two almost opposite things at the same time? It was almost like he had two brains. He knew he only had one though. Standard medical visits would notice something like a second brain. Besides, the idea of having a second brain was clearly ridiculous.
Still, Richard couldn’t help but thinking about the glowing. He’d seen it before, and then it had gone away. He had wanted it to go away, because it was weird. When he wanted it back, it came back. Maybe it would help him figure out what was going on if he used it more.
Although he tried, he couldn’t figure out anything about people except how glowy they were… and one other thing. A kind of signature unique to each person. Perhaps it was best called an aura? Either way, he felt he could recognize people just by their glow, if he had need to. Richard could think of pretty much no situation in which this would be useful.
“You’re doing that thing again, Richard.”
“People are glowing? Maybe you should get yourself checked out.” Though from anyone else the same words might have meant that he should go do so immediately, Jot really just meant that maybe Richard should, or maybe he shouldn’t.
“It’s… not exactly glowing. It’s hard to explain. I’m trying to figure it out. It’s fine though. I feel fine. Once I figure out what it is, I’ll let you know.”
Jot just looked at Richard, slightly worried. Though, Richard couldn’t really see any change in the ever neutral expression on Jot’s face… but he could tell anyway.