The Strength Within

The Cost of Beauty

Days turned into week, weeks to months. Nearly two years went by in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Joe and Laine finally began their lives as middle school students while Sarah held the first seat in her grade. Nobody could really say the exact moment it had happened, yet the family as a whole realized that none of them could ever be replaced. Allison was now faced with an impending reality. Very soon, both Joe and Laine would become pubescent. Unlike pre-war society, this was a far more momentous occasion in this age.

Not a person alive could truly pinpoint the cause but for well over a century puberty came was an added, immediate change. Sure, a teens body would still begin to produce a rush of hormones that they had never had to deal with before. These hormones tended to act far more volatilely than history lead them to believe. Over night, a man could grow half a foot in his sleep. Muscle masses would condense, hair would grow, voices would change, and their thoughts towards the opposing sex would be rewritten. However, this was nothing in the eyes of the current population.

On their twelfth birthday, one would wake up with a surge of power swelling within them. Many began to call it magic when the first to experience the change came forward. Nobody knows where it came from, what causes it, or how it truly works. From person to person, everybody had a varying level of control of this ability. Some, could manifest balls of fire above them while others could only carry a dozen pounds more than the had the day before. Those who awakened with a higher affinity would go on to serve their nations armed forced and would live comfortably. Those who couldn would be riddle with poverty and hardships.

In this war ridden world, strength was law. The stronger a person was, the less people there was to oppose them. What was the generally accept fact was that a person who gained a physical boast from their awakening could never manifest their thoughts into reality. In a century, no single person had ever control both sides of power. This was believed to be a balancing act on the population. It seemed that both powers had equal strength despite having vastly different numbers. Those who could bring their thoughts to life were few and far between compared to the numbers of the more common physical boasters.

Faced with the realization that changes were about to occur within her family, Allison continued to prepare dinner while awaiting for the three to return home. From an outside perspective, thing seemed to be like an other day. The children went to school as they did any other day, came home for dinner, then turned to their homework for the evening.

Within the household however, physical tension could be felt between a dotting mother and the two elder children. The next few months would server to shape the rest of their lives. For Joe, this was a realization far closer than the rest. In school, they had learned all about the changes they could all undergo. Joe had begun counting down the days six months ago. A count down to the day he would awaken to a new him. He went to bed that night with a feeling of anticipation as well as anxiety.

The following morning, The barely five foot boy woke early to find he had grown almost a foot in his sleep. None of his existing clothes fit him anymore. Even if the length of his slacks was sufficient, he also found that his shirt would have been far tighter around his chest. Curiously, the boy dropped into a high plank before he began dipping his shoulder repeatedly. Eighty… ninety… one hundred repetitions and he was not even breaking a sweat. It became transparently obvious that he had awoken as a physical boaster. Where he had once struggled to do twenty push ups in succession, his newfound strength was exponentially higher.

Luckily, he had long prepared for this possible change. With the calmest demeanor he could muster, Joe retrieved a bag of clothes from his wardrobe. With a new change of clothes in hand, he made his way to the restroom to get ready for the day. While the shower climbed to a comfortable temperature, he examined his new physique. He now towered over his previous self at five foot eleven inches. Stepping of the scale by the sink, he realized he had gained nearly sixty pounds of muscle mass. His already dirty blond hair lightened to a golden blonde while his eyes brightened to a vibrant blue. Seeing himself standing in front of the mirror, he was briefly reminded of his late father whom gave his life in the last war.

Wasting no more time, he stammered into the shower with a near euphoric sense of vigor. After a half hour of standing under the scolding water, Joe finally emerged from the steam to dry himself. As he combed his hair to the left he decided to leave to front more unkept which added a bit of volume to the otherwise flat appearance. A worry crept its way into his heart, what will they think of me now? He was confident Sarah would be otherwise unaffected, after all she was still young and had been with him for years. What about Allison and Laine? They took him and Sarah in that day and life had been pleasant all this time. What if they decided the change was too drastic and didn want him here anymore?

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