It’s the middle of June. The temperature was supposed to be in the upper 80s all week. But instead it’s in the 20s. And it’s snowing.
It’s not just a light flurry, either. I’m talking about a full-blown blizzard.
And it’s all my fault.
* * * * *
The day after my thirteenth birthday started out as any other summer day. But that day turned out to be different. It was the day that I finally stood up to Elliot Blanson. It was the day I showed him that I, Sevastryn Viridian, was not to be messed with.
And it was the day that I unleashed disaster upon the city of Brightondale.
It was hard enough being the new kid in town. It was even harder being the only fairy/elf hybrid in town—or in the rest of the real world, for that matter. And it was even, even harder being separated from your parents and taken from the fantasy world of Valeron—the only world you’ve ever known—and being thrust into a new world, a world called Reality, a world that is completely different from the one you came from. Talk about a big adjustment.
There was so much to get used to. The food was different (Pizza and burgers don’t even exist where I come from!). The environment was different (All of the trees are green? How is that not boring?). The people and animals were different (I grew up believing humans, dogs, and cats were mythical!). The language was different (not that I had much of a problem with that though, since like everyone else in the fantasy realm, I was taught how to instantly understand and speak any language I hear).
And school was the biggest difference of all. Pretty much none of the classes were anything like the classes in Valeronian schools. Like, why don’t they teach questing? Who can learn geography without going on a quest? It’s practically impossible! No wonder so many of my classmates are failing! And math? I’d already learned everything from basic arithmetic to calculus—by the time I was ten—and these kids, my peers, are still doing algebra! And yet I’m the one everyone looks at like I’m crazy?! And don’t even get me started on science. Come on, people, the world’s not as complicated as you think it is!
Being so completely different from everyone else, I was a natural target for teasing and ridicule, especially from the “Terror of Brightondale Middle School,” Elliot Blanson, who from day one was determined to make my life miserable. And he did. Tripping me, calling me names, pouring water into my backpack so that all of the time I’d spent doing my homework was wasted—you name it, he did it to me. And the torment didn’t stop at school, because Elliot also happened to be my next-door neighbor.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I just stood there and let Elliot do all he could to ruin my life. Being a Valeronian and the son of a fairy and an elf, I was taught to stand up for myself and for anyone else who was being treated unfairly. So that’s what I did. But whenever I tried to confront Elliot, he either laughed or punched me in the face. (Why are humans so violent?) And then he went right back to making my life miserable the next day. And the next day. And the next.
But all of that changed the day after my thirteenth birthday. That’s when I accidentally discovered my power.
It’s common for Valeronians to discover their special talent, or power, when they turn thirteen. In fact, it’s a pretty big deal. Most people in Valeron go to a testing center, where wands are used to find out what their special talent is. But because I came to Reality when I was twelve, I didn’t get the chance to be tested. But turns out I didn’t have to. My talent showed up all on its own.
What is my talent? Well, let’s just say it’s pretty cool.
The day after my thirteenth birthday was warm and sunny, and a light breeze was blowing. I was riding my bike through the neighborhood, enjoying the nice weather, when suddenly Elliot Blanson stepped right into my path. I swerved to avoid hitting him, and my bike tipped over and fell into the grass on the side.
“Watch where you’re going, Blue Freak!” he said. That was his nickname for me, not just because of my ice-blue eyes, but also because of my wild and spiky hair, which I had dyed a very distinctive shade of blue. Not to mention the blue hooded sweatshirt that I wore pretty much every day—yes, including today, an 87-degree summer day in the middle of June. Back then I used to wonder why I was always so cold, no matter the temperature. Now I realize it’s because of my power.
I brushed myself off and snapped, “You need to be more careful. You’re the one who ran in front of me.”
Elliot narrowed his eyes. “What did you say to me?”
I glared back. “Oh, you heard exactly what I said.”
Elliot’s face turned so red it looked like he was about to explode. His hands curled into fists, but I wasn’t intimidated. In fact, I had had enough. “Listen, Elliot,” I said firmly. “I’ve said this before, and it’s the last time I’m going to say it. I’m tired of you picking on me all the time. So I’m giving you one last chance to leave me alone.”
Elliot glowered and then pinned me against a nearby tree. “You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” he scoffed. “Think you’re smarter than anyone else in the world. Think you’re so special with your blue hair and blue eyes and stuff. Well, you’re not. You’re just a freak. That’s all you are, and that’s all you ever will be!”
I got angrier and angrier the more he talked. An intense pressure started to build inside of me, and in spite of the heat I felt a freezing coldness rush through my veins, like my blood had turned to ice. The pressure rose and the coldness grew colder until I could no longer hold it in.
“I said, LEAVE ME ALONE!” I exploded, pushing the pressure and coldness out with as much force as I could. Elliot was knocked to the ground.
Instantly, a gust of wind rushed past me from out of nowhere, and thick clouds began to form in the sky, turning it completely white. The air grew cold—really cold. Large snowflakes began drifting down from the sky.
Elliot was standing up again and shivering, his arms wrapped around himself. “W-w-w-what’s g-g-going on?” he asked, his teeth chattering so hard that I could barely understand what he was saying. “How is it s-s-s-snowing?” Then he looked at me, and his eyes widened. “D-d-did y-y-you j-j-j-just…”
“I...I did.” I looked around in wonder. It was like we were standing in a giant snowglobe. I, Sevastryn Viridian, had just made it snow!
But the wind picked up, and the snowflakes began falling faster and faster, swirling around so much that it became almost impossible to see even a few feet ahead. “That’s not good,” I mumbled to myself.
“Make it stop!” Elliot cried.
He was shivering so hard, I’m surprised he didn’t fall over. Even though he was my worst enemy, I felt sorry for him at that moment. He wasn’t resistant to cold the way I was.
“Make it stop!” he cried again.
“I—I can’t,” I said. Anxiety and dread grew within me as the realization hit.
I, Sevastryn Viridian, had just created a blizzard. And I had no idea how to stop it.
* * * * *
So now, here I am.
The snowstorm is still raging. School’s been canceled all week. Traveling is completely out of the question. Everyone is on lockdown.
And it’s all because of me.
Of course, the only person who actually knows how this storm started is Elliot Blanson, but I doubt he’s told anyone. I warned him that if he did, I’d find him and freeze him in a block of ice. He was so afraid of me that day that I’m pretty sure he took my threat seriously.
But the worst part of it is, I’m supposed to be blending in as much as possible. Right before my parents sent me to this world to hide, they specifically warned me not to draw attention to myself. And I’ve tried. But of course, my appearance doesn’t make it easy. And now I just had to make it even harder for myself by unleashing a blizzard on an innocent city in the middle of summer.
My dad was always warning me that I needed to control my temper because anger plus power equals disaster. Now I see what he meant. He knew what he was talking about, because he has the same talent I do. Hopefully he can help me figure out how to stop this storm.
I reach under my bed and take out my Orb—or what humans call a “crystal ball.” It’s so hilarious that they actually think this thing is magic! It’s really just a piece of fantasy technology that works just like a cell phone and a smart speaker. It can only contact people within the fantasy realm though, which is where my parents are. I’ve been trying to get in touch with them all week, ever since the storm started, and so far they haven't responded to any of my calls. I’m guessing my being in the real world has something to do with it, but it hasn’t stopped me from trying every day.
“Display Mom and Dad,” I say to the Orb.
It stays blank, so I repeat the command. Still, nothing happens.
That cold feeling starts rushing through me again. I tighten my grip on the Orb with both hands. “Come on, why won’t you work?” I shout at it. “Display my parents right now or I’ll—”
Suddenly, there’s a knock on my bedroom door. “Sevastryn, is everything okay?” calls Mrs. Harper, one-half of the couple I’m staying with while living in the real world. She always tells me to call her by her first name, Kara.
“Yep, everything’s good!” I quickly reply.
“Well then, mind if I come in? We need to talk.”
“Sure.” I stand up and hide the Orb behind my back, trying to appear casual as Kara comes in.
She looks around the room with a furrowed brow. “Were you...talking to someone in here? I thought I heard shouting.”
I sigh. “No. Just at this.” I show her my Orb. “I keep trying to call my mom and dad, but it’s not working.”
“Oh, I see.” Kara sits on the edge of my bed and pats the space next to her, inviting me to sit down. “I’m just a little concerned about you. I know you miss your parents, and I want as much as you do for you to be reunited with them soon. But you’ve been keeping yourself isolated in this room ever since this crazy snow storm happened out of the blue. Are you sure you’re okay?”
Before I can stop myself, I blurt out, “No, I’m not okay. This whole thing is my fault. This storm—” I gesture to the window that shows the Arctic scene outside “—is my fault!”
“What are you talking about? It’s not your fault. You can’t control what goes on with the weather,” Kara tries to assure me.
I look down at my lap, wondering if I really should be telling her what I’m about to say. Then I decide that it’s already too late to turn back. “But I did,” I say, standing up. “This may be hard to understand, but the blizzard came from me. Last week, the day after my birthday, I discovered I have this power. Elliot Blanson was teasing me and I got so angry that my body went cold and then I unleashed this storm and now it’s out of control and I don’t know how to stop it and I’ve been trying to contact Dad because he has the same power so he can help me stop the storm but I can’t reach him and I can’t do anything!”
The inside of me has gone freezing cold, and ice starts to form in my palms. My heart is pounding. I can tell I’m losing it, but I can’t get myself to calm down. I’m out of control. The storm is out of control. I can’t stop it, I can’t stop me, I can’t—
“Whoa, easy there! It’s okay.” Kara seems to sense my panic, and she speaks to me in a low, steady voice, like I’m a frightened jackalope. “Calm down. Breathe.”
I take a few deep breaths, and the ice in my hands and the coldness inside me vanishes. My heart slows.
“There you go. Good.”
I sit back down. “Sorry,” I mumble, embarrassed by my outburst.
“It’s okay. I know just how you feel. The same thing has happened to me many times,” Kara says.
I look at her. “Really?”
She nods. “Listen, Sevastryn, I may not have the same power as you or your father, but I’m sure I can help you.”
“How?” I ask skeptically.
“Want to know a secret? I have a power too. And when I was your age, I went through the same thing you’re going through right now.”
She makes a fist and then opens it, palm upwards, and a small flame appears in her hand. I stare at it in wonder.
“Shortly after I first discovered my power, I found out how easily it could get out of control,” she explained. “While I was playing with my friends in the woods, we got into a disagreement. As my anger flared, I felt this burning heat rise within me, and just like you, I unleashed my power, causing a wildfire to break out in the forest.”
“The fire quickly spread to other parts of the city, and I felt so helpless,” Kara continued. “But then I remembered what my mother always told me: ‘Kara, if your power ever gets out of control, just use the coolness inside of you to take away the heat.’ I had never been able to figure out what she meant by that before, but on that day, it finally clicked, and I was able to extinguish the flames.”
“So...you’re saying I can do the same thing to stop the blizzard?” I ask. “But how do I do that? Won’t using the coldness inside me make everything even more—ohhh.” I think I’m starting to get it. “Wait, but...how exactly am I supposed to do it?”
“It’s not something I can explain. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself, because you’re the only one who can stop this storm.”
I glance out the window at the raging snowstorm. The snowstorm I created. And suddenly, I feel a burning desire to stop it.
Burning. That’s it. “I know what I need to do,” I say resolutely.
Pulling my hood over my head, I go outside, planting my feet in the knee-deep snow. All I can see is white everywhere. The wind blows so hard that it feels like it could knock me over. Still, I stand firm. I close my eyes, focusing. The more I concentrate, the more I can feel the heat inside me, the heat that has always been there to balance out the cold. I concentrate even harder, letting the heat grow and swell until I can’t take it anymore. Then I raise my hands and shove the heat out with all of the strength and energy I have.
Immediately, the wind stops and the snow clouds vanish, leaving behind the snow on the ground. Still, the heat continues to rush from me in waves, melting the snow until all of it is gone. The sun shines brightly in the blue sky, drying the damp ground.
After catching my breath, I look around in a daze. “I did it. I actually did it!”
I, Sevastryn Viridian, have stopped the blizzard.
* * * * *
Two months later...
I’ve gotten really good at controlling my power. Now, the only blizzards I create are in the Harpers’ backyard, where Elliot and I like to have snowball fights. He and I became great friends after he apologized for being so mean to me before. He said he realized that the blizzard was partly his fault, since I probably wouldn’t have unleashed it had he not provoked me. And he’s promised that the secret of how the Legendary Summer Snowstorm started would be forever safe between the two of us.
Not only have I been learning how to control my power, but I’ve also been discovering how to use it for good. Like forming a patch of ice on the ground to stop a runaway bank robber. Or releasing a blast of ice and snow to put out a house fire. While doing things like this, I always wear a hood that hides most of my face so that people can’t recognize me. I’m like Brightondale’s superhero.
I know I’m supposed to be blending in until my parents come back for me. But as long as I'm still in Reality, I’m going to use my power to make a difference. Because I am no longer just Sevastryn Viridian.
I am Blizzard Boy.