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Fiction

   A snowball whirled towards my face with deadly aim, and I could almost feel my heart skip a beat. I could feel the cells of my brain forming together, waving pitchforks and torches, screaming, 

   “GIVE SKADI A PANIC ATTACK RIGHT NOW! SNOW IS ABOUT TO GET IN CONTACT WITH HER FACE!”

   Sometimes I really hate my brain cells. 

   I could feel the crazy and irrational feeling of fear crawling around me like an annoying insect with sharp legs that just won’t stop bugging me (sorry, bad pun). I managed to smack the snowball, and it exploded into snow. I noticed my older brother Henley standing in front of me, smiling, holding another snowball. 

   I could feel my anger boiling. He knows that I’m scared of snow. 

   I walked over to Henley and slapped him.

   “Ow!” He said, rubbing his cheek. “What was that for?”

  “You vitskertr!” 

   He rubbed his cheek like I had slapped him again, even though I hadn’t. I couldn’t help but smile a little. The Fox family’s gift, our hurtful words causing physical pain, or our positive words causing you to feel physically stronger, is quite a rare one, and usually, it only works when we’re adults. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait any longer. 

   Henley sighed, like he was getting ready for an insult. Oh no.

   “Jeez. No need to call me a short-wit. Besides, I threw the snowball because it serves you right, not the other way around. You put peanut butter in my sandwich and I had an allergic reaction. On the airplane. When my epipen is deep inside my suitcase.”

   “How was I supposed to know that you were allergic to peanuts?”

   “You’re my SISTER. You should know stuff like that!”

   “We’ve lived separately ever since we were two and got reunited only a year ago!”

   “And I’m starting to see why. You’re a meinfretr.”

   There was a sensation like needles digging into my skin, and I bit my tongue, determined not to show weakness. You might think that those words don’t hurt, but the memories they carried, that’s what made it hurt. What happened when we were two. . . That, in word word, sucked.

   But I felt a slight burst of energy when Henley mentioned the word meinfretr. Thank goodness he didn’t know which words made me stronger, and which ones made me weaker. I shot back,

   “You have a miklimunnr and you cry like a meyla.”

   Henley rubbed his neck while standing straighter. I cursed under my breath. Since I had used two insults in one go, I couldn’t exactly tell which one made him stronger and which didn’t. I guess I couldn’t use either of those. 

   Henley smirked, like he could see my distress.

   “Alicarl.”

   Fat.

   I could feel the start of a stomach ache brewing. I shot back, 

   “Daufi.”

   Stupid.

   “Haensa.”

   Chicken.

   “Huglausi.”

   Cowardly

   The pains were getting worse, targeting certain parts of my body. I could sense that Henley felt the same way.

    Henley started saying something else. He opened his mouth, but no sound came out. It was like someone had hit his “off” switch (I wish Henley actually had one). I opened my mouth, sensing an opening to say something, but I couldn’t talk either. All of my pains from before subsided, like someone had wrapped medicine around my body. Only one person could do that.

   Dad. 

   Dad snapped his fingers, and I could talk again. He looked so disappointed in us it made my chest hurt. He dropped his voice to a low murmur.

   “What were you two thinking?! Using our gift in public. We can’t blow our cover here. I know it’s hard not being normal. I know it’s hard with our gift. It’s hard to conceal. One wrong word, and people can discover our secrets. But you have to try. For me. Just try to be kind to each other.”

   We made like bobble heads and nodded. 

   “Okay.” 

   Dad smiled at us. 

   “Let’s go to our new home.”

***

   Father insisted that we walk to our new house. Out of the list of “Things You Can Do That Will Torture Skadi Fox”,  walking in snow is sky high. Seriously, how was I supposed to live in Alaska, where it snowed year-round?    

   In every step, I could see the time I got a concussion because of a snowball to the head, or the time my dog and mom died in an avalanche, or the time I broke several bones when a 300-pound snowball rolled down a hill and almost crushed me. There were other memories, too. Ones I didn’t want to talk about, even on here.

   To make things worse, Henley was rubbing it in my face. He was taunting me. I was tempted to say a word that could give him a concussion for the rest of the day.  

   But I didn’t want to cross paths with dad. He was the most powerful Fox family member ever. I knew with the right words, he could kill me without even touching me. Of course, I knew he wouldn’t do that to his own daughter. But still. You don’t want to make a guy that has that much power mad.

   We finally stopped and went into a hotel. We checked in and got into a suite. Henley wrinkled his nose.

   “We’re living here? In a hotel?”

   Dad chuckled. 

   “No. We’re just staying here until I can rent a proper house. I rented one of the biggest suites here. But it’ll take a while to unpack. Do you want to help me unpack?”

   Dad smirked, knowing what our answer would be. Despite me and Henley’s differences, there were a couple of things we absolutely detested. Like unpacking belongings.

   “No,” we snapped in unison. 

   “Definitely not.”

   “Never.”

    “Nope.”

   “Over my dead body.”

   Dad raised his hands in an I-give-up gesture. 

   “Okay, okay. I get it.”

   He handed us some money.

   “Rent a sled. Go sledding for today. It’ll be good for you two.”

   We stared at him. Then, we burst, saying things on top of each other.

   “I’m afraid of snow! Like straight up terrified and traumatized because of it! I’m not spending any time longer than necessary in snow!”

   “I’m afraid of heights, dad! You know what happened to me! I am not going sledding!”

   “I haven’t gone sledding for a decade! I almost feel like I’ve forgotten how to go sledding!”

   “Same!”

   “It’s too cold!”

   “Sledding is childish!”

   “And boring!”

   “Remember—“

   Our mouths slammed shut. Literally. Dad’s power is really annoying sometimes. 

   “My decision is final,” dad insisted. “You two need to stop hiding from your fears and face them like a Fox.”

   Dad started lecturing us about facing our fears and being brave and all of that mumbo-jumbo. I groaned inwardly. Dad used to be an English professor. He could go on for a long time. 

   Henley tapped me on the arm. I looked at him. He started moving his hands in gestures. American Sign Language. We haven’t used ASL for years. The last time we did, it was with mom, because she was deaf. Ever since she died, our family had no use for ASL.

   Besides, the Fox family’s abilities don’t stretch over to ASL. The way dad saw it, what was the point of using a language that our powers couldn’t affect? I had been too embarrassed to admit that I had continued to use sign language. It was a way for me to keep mom’s memories alive. Turns out I wasn’t the only one that kept using ASL. 

 “Dad can go on for hours like this,” he signed, rolling his eyes. “I’d like to make a run for it.

   I nodded. I signed back, 

   “I thought the Fox family used their words to escape and run from a situation and use planning and strategy. Not go headfirst into their fears. This sounds idiotic.”

   Henley laughed. 

   “That’s one thing we agree on.”

   Can we just get out now?

   “It would be my pleasure.

   We grabbed the money and walked out the door of the suite.

***

   I stood at the door, nervous to go out again. It was snowing, and most of the sidewalks were buried in more snow. You haven’t seen a lot of snow until you’ve seen snow in Alaska. 

   “Cmon,” Henley assured me. Before, his voice would’ve sounded like the usual sarcastic annoying Henley. But something changed in his tone. He sounded like he actually cared. “It’ll be okay.”

   His words sunk into my brain, fixing some of my doubts. I stepped outside.

   And immediately slipped on ice. 

   “Ugh,” I groaned, getting up. “This is why I don’t go ice-skating.”

   Henley held out his hand to help me up.

   “There’s a lot of ice on the sidewalk. You could slip again. I could trip. Wanna hold hands?”  

   It sounded childish, but I watched as more people tripped from the ice. 

   “Okay.”

   We held hands as we navigated the streets, searching for somewhere to rent a sled. But even with a phone. . .

   “We’re lost,” Henley complained. 

   “No, we’re not.” I grumbled. “We’re really lost.” 

   I turned to a random girl, who looked friendly enough.

   “Excuse me,” I asked. “I’m Skadi, and this is Henley. We’re new here. Can you help us? We’re looking for somewhere that lets us rent sleds, but we’re kind of lost.”

   The girl looked up from her book. 

   “Hi! Nice to meet you. I’m Jessie. I think I can help you and your boyfriend.”

   I felt like throwing up. Before I could correct her, Henley did.

   “She’s NOT my girlfriend. No way. We’re siblings.”

   Jessie tilted her head.

   “Really? No offense or anything, but you don’t look like siblings.” 

   I supposed Jessie was right. I took after my mom, with curly blonde hair, but I had dyed my hair white. I was one of those people who never show their natural hair color. I had a lanky frame, and I could never be still. My skin was really pale (even in the summer), and I had bright green eyes that always made people question whether I was wearing contacts or not. I had a spray of freckles on my nose, and I wore pale blue glasses that were always lower on my nose than they were supposed to be. I describe myself as someone who looks good, but I really don’t. I look more like a nerd.

   Henley took after my dad. Chocolate brown eyes that radiate warmth. Honey colored hair that was always tousled. Skin much darker than mine. He was the sporty type, with muscles I’d never have. Basically, the I’m-hot-but-I’m-too-cool-for-you-to-date type. It definitely looked like we were dating, holding hands and all.

   I shrugged.

   “Something that has to do with genes. I dunno. Anyway, can you point us in the right direction?”

   “Sure.”

***

   Before we knew it, Henley was holding a sled and we were in a valley with dozens of hills. The snow had stopped by now, and the sun was shining. I finally felt like smiling. I loved the sun. The sun calmed me enough to let go of Henley’s hand. 

   “Which hill?” I inquired. 

   Henley pointed to the smallest one. 

   “Oh, come on,” I chuckled. “Can’t we be a little more adventurous than that?”

   Henley shook his head. I could see sweat forming on his brow. 

   “No.”

   I crossed my arms.

   “Well, I just walked for half an hour in snow. I faced my fear. You’re the older one. The big-shot. You should be able to climb a big hill and sled down from it.”

   “No.”

   “Yes.”

   “No.”

   “Yes.”

   “NO!”

   “Ugh, why are you making such a big deal about this? Because of your phobia?”

   Henley sat down, looking like he was re-living the most horrible day of his life.

   “Haven’t you ever wondered about my love life?” 

   “You don’t have one.”

   “Not anymore.”

   That sounded ominous. I sat down next to him.

   “Tell me what happened.”

   Henley brushed a tear from his cheek and started,

   “I used to have a boyfriend.”

   I felt like the air had been snatched from my lungs, even though a member of the Aither family wasn’t around.

   “What? You never told me—“

   “To be fair, we’ve been separated since we were two and only got reunited last year.”

   “Fair enough.”

   “Anyway, Aden was in the Dolion family.”

   “Whoa. Aren’t they extinct? I thought the leaders hunted them down because they were getting too powerful. ”

   “They’re supposed to be. They’re too dangerous. Manipulative, can make illusions that can harm you in many ways. With the right amount of power, they can even change reality. They’re probably one of the most powerful families out there. And they hate the Fox family.”

   I nodded. I remembered reading something about that.

  “When I was dating him, I didn’t know Aden was in the Dolion family. If he was, I would’ve run away screaming. I loved Aden. I really did. He was my first and only big love interest. I thought he was the one. But he broke my heart. Worse than your typical break up situation. The Dolion family will do much worse than that. I'm not going into details. I don’t want to traumatize you. To sum it up, I can’t go high up something without seeing Aden’s face.”

   I snorted.

   “I lost mom and my dog. I’ve been kidnapped. I can handle trauma.”

   Henley stood, apparently done talking. 

   “Whatever. I’ll tell you later.”

   I read between the lines. Henley was basically saying, 

   “I’m not ever going to tell you because it’s too painful to talk about.”

   Henley continued,

   “Besides, this isn’t exactly a therapy session. We’re going sledding.”

   I nodded again, trying to break up the ice. 

   “Yeah. Um. So. Are we climbing a hill? Which one?”

   Henley walked toward one, and climbed up the hill. I followed, doing my best to ignore the snow at my feet. 

   Suddenly, Henley’s face lost all color. He looked absolutely terrified. He muttered words under his breath, and I recognized a few of them. Words that could hurt you so badly they would most likely get you stuck in the hospital for a week. Thankfully, they weren’t directed at me. 

   They were directed right in front of Henley, like he was seeing someone he could only see and hated.

   He stopped, like someone else was talking to him. With tears in his eyes Henley growled with anger and heartbreak. He started saying something else. The beginning of a life-long curse.

   He suddenly gasped. There were hands wrapped around his neck, choking him. I wanted to help Henley when I hesitated.

   It was pretty obvious that the person strangling him was Aden. The Dolion family is invisible except for their hands a lot. They could also teleport. There wasn’t much I could do to stop Aden.

   I rushed over to Henley anyway, and instead of prying the hands off his neck, I started talking.

   “Henley Maxwell Fox! Listen to me here. That dude Aden is changing your reality, twisting it to get back at you just because of your heritage. But you’re fine. All you have to do is let go of your ghosts of the past, ignore the hands, and continue doing you. Concentrate on my voice, and pull yourself out of the hole.”

   Henley still looked absolutely terrified, starting to lose air. His eyes were glowing red, which was never a good sign. I wondered if he could even hear me. What could I do? I could tell that Henley wasn’t too far from death, since his body was starting to glow black. A few magicky words weren’t gonna help in this situation. 

   I developed a crazy idea. The most ancient of the Fox abilities could heal Henley and slap some sense into him. Literally.

   But that was impossible. Not even dad could do it. 

   Of course, I didn’t care. Girls couldn’t use their abilities until they were adults (and boys and every other gender could use their abilities when they were kids. No fair), yet I had been able to use my abilities for a long, long time. I’ve already done the impossible. Why not add more to the list? After all, doing two impossible things was on my bucket list. 

   I chanted mental healing spells, adding encouraging words in the mix.The words just flowed out of me, desperate to be freed. 

   I spit into my hand. My spit glowed gold, and the gold spread into my hand. Then, I slapped Henley. 

   You might be thinking something at this point.

   “Are you crazy?

   Yes, very much so. This ancient Fox spell will cause your spit filled with your words to travel through the body you’ve slapped, healing that body. Just with your words. Permanently. And you’d have to be a boy to use the spell or get healed by the spell. (Stupid sexist ancient spell-creators!) Since I was a girl, that couldn’t exactly work. But I had no choice. 

   Henley’s body glowed gold, and the hands disappeared. He stumbled around, groaning like an idiot, but at least he was alive. After a minute, he walked back to me.

   “What the hell did you do? You just saved me from dying. How’d you do it? What did  you do?”

   “Whatever. I’ll tell you later.” I smiled, enjoying throwing back to him his own words.

   Henley laughed. He gazed around in wonder, like he was seeing the world for the first time. 

   “My fear. It’s gone. I feel. . . At peace. Like poison was removed from my body. It feels amazing.”

   I shuffled around, slightly jealous that I hadn’t gotten rid of my fear. However, that was for another day. I could worry about that later. But, I’d have to admit, the snow didn’t bother me as much. 

   “Well,” I elbowed Henley playfully. “You feel like going sledding now or what?”

January 23, 2021 01:16

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10 comments

23:05 Feb 14, 2021

Is this supposed to be based off of magnus chase? I did like the way you wrote it off though, and the tone was really thought out and developed. The only critique I had was that your character was a little stuck in their head sometimes. But that’s their issue :)

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23:10 Feb 14, 2021

this wasn't based off of Magnus Chase. I am considering writing a fanfiction about Magnus Chase, tho :) And thank you! Yes, that was the intention for this character. I sometimes try to include a flaw in a character, even if it's random. The characters seem more real that way :)

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21:05 Jan 25, 2021

🤠🤠🤠

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22:39 Jan 25, 2021

Thx!!

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Akshaya Sutrave
14:28 Jan 23, 2021

Hi!! I really liked this story! You've written it so well, and you definitely deserve more recognition! I don't think you write bad at all! Your story actually contradicts your profile name. This was an enjoyable read! Great job and keep it up!!

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15:40 Jan 23, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Akshaya Sutrave
11:17 Jan 30, 2021

Welcome!

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wow, just the way siblings work (or so I'm told XD). It's funny, cause I actually love snow lol. The idea with words was an interesting one, just reminds you to chose them carefully cause they can affect others for the good or bad. great story tho, the words (ahah) flowed nicely and fit together like a puzzle :) L.W.

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23:00 May 22, 2021

I did my best with the sibling dynamic, but I mostly used books for reference because I'm an only child. And yes, that was the theme of the story. Thank you for your feedback!

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lolol np

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