A siren blares, echoing through the quiet streets. I wake up with a start and glance around. I scream, adding to the constant wails of the alarm. There are flames engulfing my arm! I try to put it out, but it stays put. At first it burns, but then I realize that it doesn’t hurt, I only thought it did. It feels warm, but not hot. I stare at it in horror and amazement for a few seconds before I realize that the flames have spread from my arm and are now crawling up my cranberry colored walls. My house is burning down! I have to get out of here, like, now! I jump out of bed and fling my door wide open. In my panic I don’t even realize that the fire from my hand has extinguished.
I race down the stairs, but suddenly remember my family. I can’t leave them! They’re still asleep! Without a moment of hesitation, I dash back up and into my parent’s room where everyone except Clara is. I yank the covers off, screaming at them to wake up. My mother wakes up first, followed by my father, and then Mary. My mother gasps when she sees what is happening. She grabs Mary and holds her close, while my father runs out of the room to find Clara. I yell at my mother, telling her that we have to leave and my little sister starts bawling in fear and confusion. I don’t blame her. My mother nods and slowly gets out of bed, her age showing on her face. I hold her hand and we slowly make our way downstairs. I feel a twinge of terror as I realize Clara and my father aren’t with us. CRACK! I jump as I hear the sound right above us. Suddenly, the roof caves in, carrying an explosion with it. There is a blinding white flash and a burning wave of heat. I am thrown down the stairs and land near the door. I rub my aching back as I slowly get back to my feet. I try to go back for my family, but the wood is burning. I can feel my lungs filling with smoke and I have to get out.
I yank open the door to my house and flee into the cool night air. The cold burns just as much as the heat. I look around. Where is my family? Why don’t I see my mother and Mary? Where are Clara and my father? My heart is in my throat. They must have gotten out the back door. They are probably waiting for me on the other side. I have to go to them and everything will be alright. I try to distract myself with positive thoughts, but for some reason, I’m having trouble believing them. I can sense a dark, nagging thought at the back of my mind, but I push it away. No, they’re waiting for me. I know they are. I push away the terrifying thoughts and circle the burning house, giving it a wide berth. With every step, I feel a little spark of hope. I speed up until I am at a full on sprint. I round the corner and...nothing. My eyes scan the lawn, searching for a needed reassurance...nothing.
Did they...did they not make it out? My mind betrays me. I look back and my house is almost totally consumed in the reddish-orange flames. Tears burn in my eyes. My family is still in there! They didn’t make it out! I feel as if I was just hit by a truck. I can barely breathe from grief. No, they can’t be dead. No. No! NO! A strangled roar penetrates the night. It is full of grief and pain, touched with anger and terror. I look around for the source of the sound and realize that it came from my chapped lips.
I slowly rise to a standing position from where I was crouched down, hugging myself in pain. I take off running, my feet pounding on the pavement of the street, my brain telling me to stop, to go back and prove myself innocent. But…why would anyone believe a sixteen-year-old girl? Especially one that claims that she ‘accidentally’ set her house on fire, with only her bare hands. Oh! And how about we add more! She can only come up with one explanation…magic! How could that be right? Magic doesn't exist! But now, I'm not quite so sure. I mean, my whole house is proof of that. I still can't believe that I’m alive!
I am standing a little way outside of my house. I have no idea where I am going and it is pitch black outside. All I know is that I can't go back. I wander around, unsure of what to do. Just then, I hear sirens blaring. Someone, probably one of my neighbors, must have called 9-1-1. People are gathering around my house. I can hear people coughing, struggling to breathe through the smoke and fire. The sirens are getting closer, I can't risk anyone seeing me. I know that the police probably won’t think that I started the fire, but they would take me in for questioning because I was involved in the fire. I definitely won’t be able to come up with a good enough lie, I was never a believable liar. There is no way that I am telling them what happened. They would think that I'm crazy!
So, I decide to go with my only option now...run. I have nowhere to go, so I decide on just running in the opposite direction of everyone. I take off towards who-knows-what direction, sprinting as fast as I can possibly go. The emergency vehicles are everywhere! Ah! I'm cornered!
All I can think to do is dash right in front of them. It's a huge risk, but what choice do I have? I'm just praying that I'll be fast enough and no one will see me…that's not my biggest concern though. In the back of my mind there is one thought that I don't even want to think about.
What if...what if they catch me? I take a deep, shaky breath, trying to calm myself down. Ok, let's do this! I sprint across the street, my heart pounding. I don't stop, even when I make it safely across. I know I have to get far away. I run away from the sirens, away from the fire, and most importantly, away from reality.
The plain desert is turning into a forest. Slowly, more and more trees are appearing as I rush by. My feet ache and I’m out of breath. There is a cramp in my side and I can't run any longer. When I can actually breathe again, I look around. I seem to have entered a forest of some kind. There are trees everywhere! I'm totally surprised that I didn't run right into one. I take a deep breath and lean against a tree. I. Can't. Believe. That. Just. Happened. I think between gasping breaths. I slide down to a sitting position, still leaning against the tree. I sit there in peaceful silence. I never want to go through that again.
Tears start to run down my face again as I think back to my family. I am, or was, the second oldest of four kids. I have an older brother, Calvin, who just turned thirty last week. Calvin is married to sweet, twenty-eight-year-old, Joy. I’ve only seen her a few times, but I really like her. She has pale-white skin with freckles and amber-colored hair. Her eyes are a beautiful shade of green and she is very high-spirited. In looks she is basically the complete opposite of Calvin.
Calvin has tan skin that is rough from all of the camping trips our father made him go on. I remember begging him to let me go too, but he always told me that it was a men-only trip. I wasn't very close to my father. Yes, we talked, but I didn't have a very close relationship with him. Anyway, Calvin has strawberry blonde hair and dark brown eyes. He gets his eyes and skin tone from our father. Calvin and Joy have an adorable two-month-old baby girl named Harper.
She is the cutest thing ever! She has light colored skin, the same shade as her mamma’s, with strawberry blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Her eyes are so blue that it’s hard to look away from them. She has a few of Joy’s freckles. But, while Joy has them everywhere on her face, Harper has them only on her nose. They live in Colorado, while we live in Phoenix, Arizona. That is why I don't see them very often.
Next in line is me. My name is Lizzie and I turned sixteen three months ago. My hair is a dark black color and is very long, reaching all the way down my back and stopping at my waist. I usually have it pulled back into a braid, but sometimes I just let it flow free. I have a lighter skin tone, but not quite as pale as Joy’s. My eyes are an ocean blue. I take after my mother mostly. My thick features are the only thing I got from my dad, while my mother has thin, tight looking features.
Next is Clara. She is fifteen months younger than me and her birthday is in two days. She has strawberry blonde hair and big, curious brown eyes. She looks nearly identical to Calvin, save for her lighter skin.
The baby of the family is Mary, she is going to be four in a few months. It's funny how all of our birthdays wound up around the same time. I really wish I could have saved them. Poor little Mary only lived three years of her life. I bury my face in my hands and cry. Pain of taking my family for granted all these years haunts me. The only family I ever had is gone! I regret not getting along with my father very much, I mean, I could have tried harder!
I don’t know what will happen to me. I’m stranded out here! Then, it hits me. What if I learn to control my...um...well...flames? How do I create flames? I look at my hands and try to concentrate. I have no idea how this works, so I visualize a flame appearing. I try so hard that I end up getting a headache. I finally give up after five minutes of nothing happening.
Without warning, I am flung backwards and land on my back. The tree has disappeared! I look up in time to see the tree barreling through the sky, straight towards me. I am paralyzed with fear. I can't move! My chest tightens with horror. The tree is going to crash right into me!
Mere seconds before the tree crashes into me, I am yanked out of the way, shaking me out of my daze. The giant tree crashes in the exact spot where I was only moments ago. I could have died! I’ve forgotten to breathe, so I take a deep breath.
I didn't get out of that situation by myself. Someone saved me. That same someone is breathing heavy next to me. My cheeks turn pink from embarrassment. A boy. He looks about my age. He is skinny with tan skin. He looks like he has been living on his own for quite a while. His blonde hair is messed up with spots of dirt in it. It is falling into his eyes. His eyes are a piercing green color. His clothes are a bit beaten up. He is wearing a dark grey hoodie with boot-cut jeans and dark red running shoes.
“Thanks.” I finally manage to say.
“Anytime.” He says shyly. It's weird how he came to my rescue. How did he know that I was in danger?
“How did you know that I was in danger?” I voice my question.
“Oh...I just saw a giant tree fly into the sky and, like anyone would have, I thought that it was an abnormal thing to see. You have no idea how glad I am that I came.” He laughs nervously, tousling his blonde hair.
How do I respond to that? He looks at me curiously. How did the tree fly into the sky like that? Did I cause that? Just like the first?
“It was you, wasn't it?” He eventually says quietly. I hesitate, unsure of what he will do if I tell him the truth. I hesitate for a bit more, then I give him a shy nod. He smiles.Smiles! I hadn't expected this to be his reaction.
“What?” I ask, confused.
“It’s just a relief to find someone else like me.”
“Like you?” I’m still confused.
“Yes. Let me show you.” He gets up and walks into a small clearing that I had no idea was there. I follow him and stand a little ways away from him. I'm not sure what he will be showing me, but it’s always good to be careful. He thrusts his hands toward the ground, fast. I trip over my own feet and fall flat on my back in surprise. He is floating in the air!
“H…H…How? I stammer.
The boy laughs. What an amazing sound after the kind of day I've had. He slowly lifts his arm up, lowering himself to the ground.
I'm still on the ground, so I push myself up to a sitting position. He extends his hand to help me up. I grab onto it and I’m hoisted upward. I quickly brush myself off.
So…he has powers! I'm not alone. I can't believe it! I have no idea what to say to him.
“So how long has it been since you first realized that you had powers?” He asks when we are back to our spot. What? Does this mean that he didn't just get his powers today? I guess that is why he could control his power so well before. How long has it been?
“Um…today.” I finally remember to respond. He raises his eyebrows.
“Are you serious? I thought that you would have gotten yours at the same time as me.”
“How long have you had yours for?” I question. He is silent. He looks deep in thought. Then, his head snaps up, shock penetrated the softness of his features. What happened? His face is all scrunched up.
“What?” I finally ask when he still doesn't make a sound.
“Oh! Sorry. I just realized that I never introduced myself.” He runs his hand through his hair, nervous habit I guess.
“Oh. You're right. I haven't either.” I feel embarrassed.
“I'm Skylar.”the boy smiles.
“My name is Lizzie”
“So, um, you have powers and I have powers. But…as far as I know we are the only ones in the world who do. Why?” He starts pacing back and forth, creating an indent in the dirt.
“Right. What powers do you have?” I know that he has some sort of wind ability or something to do with flying, but he has to have one more, right? Or am I just…different? Skylar stops pacing. He takes a deep breath and walks back over to where I am sitting. He sits down, inches from me.
“If I tell you, you have to promise me that you will keep it a secret. I was reckless to just go ahead and show you what I did. I was just so excited to finally find someone that I can relate to.” He waits for me to give a slight nod before continuing, “Okay, I can control the wind. That's how I am able to fly.” He says it really fast, as if in one breath. It seems like he got the non-life-threatening ability. Unlike me.
“Your turn.” he tells me.
“I told my power, now it's your turn.”
What? He said power? Does he really only have one? I sigh. Well, I guess if he can trust me enough to tell me his, I can trust him.
“Okay…I can create fire…and I have a second ability…I can levitate things with my mind. I think...maybe…this just happened, so I don't have it all figured out yet.” His brow creases in concentration.
“Wait, you have two powers?” he exclaims. I nod, afraid of his response.
“How did you find out you had the power to create fire?” he mumbles as if he is afraid to ask. I frown as I flashback to what happened. .