Girl on Fire

Submitted into Contest #51 in response to: Write about someone who has a superpower.... view prompt



Dark. Cold. Hard. 

There was nothing visible for miles. Millions of kids crammed into a cellar for being different. Special. Dangerous. But we are the only ones who know. Who understands. Who realize that we can be more than feelingless robots. We have lives and voices that need to be heard, but no one listens. We are not complete humans. We are bionic.


“Hey dummy! I bet my little sister can read more than you can! And she’s two!”

Paul. The biggest bully in school, and I’m his only target. Even though frustration wells up inside of me, I don’t do anything about it. I can’t do anything about it. 

It all started in August of 2519, which was probably the worst year of my life, and that’s saying a lot, because my whole life has been full of twists and turns. Four years ago I was diagnosed with a severe case of dyslexia. To add on to that, just a couple of months ago, we had to suddenly move from Utah all the way to London. Not only was it hard to make friends, their English was so strange and extremely hard to comprehend. So of course, I became the best target for bullies like Paul.

I always wonder why I have to be so weird. My parents are really nonchalant people. Both my parents are scientists; my dad is a biologist and my mom is a chemist. They created a name for themselves, using their intelligence and charisma to become  well known figures in society. In fact even my teachers know them and constantly remind me of the fact that I’m nothing like them. 

“Hey! Whatcha daydreaming about? Your social life? Oh wait! You ain’t got one.” chuckled Paul.

Tugging my hood over my face, I quickly squeezed through the door and practically ran out of the campus, eager to escape the embarrassment. 

When I got home, I sprinted upstairs, ignoring my mom’s calls from the kitchen. I slammed my door and felt hot tears roll down my cheek. The old floor shook with all of the force. I could hear my mom talking to my dad over the phone.

“It happened again Joe. Our plan is failing. We need a backup.”

Again with the backups! What plan are they talking about? Sometimes, hearing their conversations make me feel like a robot, broken, and unfixable. They talk about some kind of plan everyday when I get upset, sick, or tired. It’s like they want me to be absolutely perfect. Rage filled my eyes and it quickly turned into sadness. My eyes started to burn and my lips quivered, but I couldn’t let myself cry. I just wouldn’t be perfect anymore.

I stayed up in my room for almost an hour before the garage door opened. It was my dad shuffling into the kitchen with his briefcase and his clean, crisp suit. I heard them speaking, but it sounded more like a low mumble, as if they were hiding a secret. They did this all the time, but it seemed to have only started after we moved. Suddenly, I heard two sharp knocks on my door. I quickly jumped up, ran to the door, and unwillingly opened it. 

“Hey Laura! I know you had a bad day, so I was thinking ...why not go out for ice cream?” said my dad with clear, artificial happiness.

It was kind of strange how much my family seemed to like ice cream. We went every evening, so much that it was a habit to walk straight towards the door after dinner. I know how busy my parents were, but yet they never complained and did everything to make me happy. 

“Sure dad. I’ll be down in just a sec.”

In a couple of minutes, my dad, mom, and I were piled up in the car, driving through our posh neighborhood, and into the older part of the town. I knew the way to Rustic’s Ice Cream Shoppe like the back of my hand. Before we knew it, we were walking through the heavy wooden door. The welcoming “RING” of the bell attached to the door rang as if it was saying “Oh! You again.”

“Joe! Penny! What a pleasant surprise. What may I do for y'all?” said a heavy set man behind the counter. 

“Hi Rustic. We are here because one of our TEST failed and LAURA was feeling quite upset this TIME.”

I was used to my dad talking all weird, stressing different words and yelling sometimes in public. This time it was test, Laura, and time. Usually it was test and time, but never Laura. Was I to take a test? Did I fail at something?

Rustic’s face changed from relaxed to serious. He glanced at me, and then back at my father and mother. I calmly looked up to him, hiding my fear and curiosity, and said:

“One mint chip scoop and one chocolate scoop please. In a cup with hot fudge and chocolate syrup would be great.”

It seemed as if my request had brought Rustic back to reality. He came out from behind the counter, kneeled down, and said:

“Of course Laura! How would you like to go back to the kitchen and see how they make your favorite ice cream?”

This really spiked my curiosity. There was a huge caution sign on the kitchen door that said “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK”. Why was Rustic acting so weird? He’s never been this nice before. He gave me a wide smile, motioned for my parents to lead me to the kitchen, and walked to the front of the store. My parents pushed my forward, motioning for me to open the kitchen door. I quickly glanced at Rustic, and saw him switching the sign from open to close. That’s when I knew something was wrong.

“Mom, I just realized I have a huge project due tomorrow and a lot of homework assignments. Can we please just get my icecream and go home?” I pleaded.

“Laura, you don’t need to worry. Our visit will be very short and we will be home in no time.”

My response was cut off by the loud rumble of the ice cream churners. Huge metal machines loomed over me, blinking lights in red, orange, and yellow. Honestly, it was sort of strange that the ice cream machines looked so mechanical because this store was known for its old fashioned ice cream.               

As I walked forward, I felt a strange force as if I was the metal and the machines were the magnets. It wasn't a physical pull, but every part of my body was tingling. Suddenly, it got stronger. My entire body shook and I felt my legs drop from under me. I collapsed into the ground unable to handle the pain when I heard my mom say, "It's definitely a fail" and the old wooden floor turned pitch black.

The harsh white lights of the hospital woke me up with a start. I was dumbfounded for a moment, and suddenly, everything came back. It was me who had collapsed when Rustic had offered me to come to the kitchen. But that wasn't all. Then, everything came back and hit me like a truck. Rustic's strange behavior and my parents talking in weird ways, but that was all normal. What really hit me was what my parents said just seconds before I passed out. "It's definitely a fail". These words range in my ears again and again. 

A fail. Was that all? Was that all I was? My head throbbed in confusion. Why did my parents always act as if I was some kind of robot? Why did they act as if I was some kind of mistake? Unable to process it all, I shut my eyes, immediately falling asleep.

The bright sun rays shone through the thin curtains of the hospital. My eyes slowly fluttered open and stung once exposed to the foreign light. My mouth was dry and stale. A doctor was frantically typing on a computer and a nurse ran in and out of the room. All I could hear were the beeping of the heart monitor. The beeping of the monitors were prominent, but there was more. 

Slowly, I started hearing shouts. Starting softly and then crescendoing, the shouts turned into shrill screams, piercing the air. Suddenly, I heard the high pitched noise of the fire alarm and started smelling smoke. My nose and eyes watered, stinging unbearably. 

The doctor and nurse ran out of the room, leaving me in fear and distress. My heart pounded vigorously and my hands gripped the bed covers. Where were they going? Why did they leave me? Could they not see that I was in pain? I tried to scream for help, but no sound came out. I tried to move my legs but they refused. My neck felt stiff and my arms were glued to the bed. The smell of smoke increased.




My fear intensified. Every part of me was screaming to move, but I couldn't. Smoke seeped into my room, triggering the fire alarm. Slowly, hot flames rolled in, devouring everything in its path. The chairs, machines, the floor. They were all covered in bright flames. Then, the hot fire crept towards my bed. My eyes felt heavy and they struggled to stay open. 

I looked down at my hands, and I was definitely not prepared for what I saw.

Fire erupted from my palms, flames coming out of my fists. I screamed, long and hard, knowing that this was because of me. 

I was untouched by the heat. Infact, I felt calm, relaxed around the flames. As if it were a part of me. My fire. My flames. So I sat there, my eyes filled with anger, my arms flailing with purpose. Everything was burning. I watched the plastic melt, pipes burst to a point where I couldn’t hear the loud street traffic. Nothing could stop me.

Years of pain, years of patience.

I was on fire. 

And I loved it. 

July 25, 2020 03:18

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