When Jake walked past the construction site on his way home from school, he stopped. The workers had left for the day and there was nobody to stop him using it as a shortcut.
Glancing around nervously, he decided it was worth the risk and clumsily squeezed through a gap in the fence.
Jake spun around to see Steven on the other side of the fence, grinning malevolently.
“Thought you could hide, freak? Can’t really do that, can you…”
The bully grabbed at Jake, his hand brushing against the skin on Jake’s arm. Like every other time someone touched him, he ‘saw’ himself through the other’s eyes.
And there was the brief feeling of ‘falling’ into darkness.
Jake ran away, screaming.
He was halfway through the site when he tripped on a metal pipe and hit the ground hard. Trying to get up, a kick from behind sent him back down.
Rolling over, he saw Steven standing over him.
“Why you hiding, freak? Anybody can see where you are.”
Jake wailed as Steven kicked him again. He tried to drag himself away but the bully pulled him up easily and held him.
Instantly, the other’s eyes were his eyes. Jake was tall, but thin and awkward in appearance. He did not look strong, or able to defend himself. He looked like prey.
The feeling of falling returned and he had to escape. He screamed.
Steven pushed him away into a pile of bricks, laughing. “Man, you sound like a girl when you do that!”
Jake watched helplessly as the bully closed in on him.
“You hurt my feelings,” Steven said, “avoiding me all the time.”
“Why are you doing this?” Jake asked, sobbing.
Steven stood in front of Jake, blocking any escape. “Because I can.”
He punched Jake in the face and with it Jake saw himself, weak and pathetic. More punches came, each one carrying a flash of the same sight… and the falling feeling.
Jake was terrified. Steven had never been this violent before and no one was here to stop him.
It was impossible to hold on. Jake finally lost his grip and felt himself falling, plunging into a dark abyss…
The first sensation Jake had was of power. He stood up and flexed his arms. He was strong.
He turned to face the whimpering he heard from behind and saw himself on the ground, bloodied and afraid.
The pathetic wretch stared up at him in horror. “What the hell is going on!?”
“Things are going to be different now, Steven,” Jake said.
He closed in on his former self and easily pulled him up by his shirt. Jake punched him in the face and enjoyed the flashing image he saw of his new self.
The falling feeling was gone.
Leslie Blake hails from Queensland, Australia and occasionally appear on the speculative fiction website, AntipodeanSF.
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