“Sparrow, they’re starting.” My friend nudged my shoulder. Her name’s Hazel, and like me, she was a Person.
What is a Person, you may ask? There was discrimination where I lived. It’s how we divided our country, how we divided our humans. There are Blyx and People. Blyx could wield magic and when we saw them, we were filled with shame, for they belong to the same species as us. People are simply normal. Boring. Just… regular.
Every week the Ceremony takes place. Obviously, Blyx try their best to hide their identities, but are always caught in the end. The government decided to have fun with our soon-to-be-dead. To prove their power. This week, they’d found six poor Blyx.
We were told to be seated in a large auditorium-like room. In our strange country, Frostford, the culture says kids about twelve years old are expected to work. I was fourteen then, and I was in the last year of school. I owned a company that worked with the higher-up government People. I was ranked decently high. I sat in a comfortable chair in the room, in a box attached to the wall.
I nodded to Hazel. I tried my best to be stoic during these Ceremonies, but I can never watch them break.
A man brought out a young-ish boy, about eleven. He exited, leaving the boy to stare at the plexiglass screen separating us from the Blyx. Behind the thick layer of glass, where the boy stood, a stream ran between a few trees, a pile of rocks, and some grass. This was all encased within the building, of course.
“I wonder what he can do,” I pondered aloud.
“He’s probably a shape-shifter. We’ve seen lots of them recently,” she guessed.
She was wrong. Before our eyes, the boy turned invisible and jumped into the stream. We could see his invisible form in the water.
The reason he wasn’t dead was because the government liked to entertain the public with a demonstration of the Blyx’s abilities before they kill them.
The boy turned back so he wasn’t invisible and left the stage.
“Wasn’t the greatest performance I’d ever seen.”
“Poor fella was trembling like an earthquake. He could’ve made it more interesting.” She agreed.
The next Blyx had a dark bruise on her cheek and she was shoved onto the stage, but when she saw the huge crowd, she turned into a turtle and hid in her shell. She was prodded with a stick and changed back to Blyx form, practically sprinting off the stage.
The next two Blyx weren’t that great either. One electrocuted the stream with lightning, sending fish to the surface, dead. Another picked a tree off the ground like a daisy. But, the fifth Blyx was a boy, about my age, who used fire to burn the trees to the ground. A fireball flickered in his hand before he was taken off the stage, his hands in most likely, fireproof gloves.
I liked that one. I didn’t want him to die. Smiling, I imagined him living safely, without worries. But then, another person swaggered onto center stage.
“This one’s rock solid and confident.” she remarked.
The Blyx lifted up a pale hand and faced her palm to the sky. Smirking, she summoned a snowstorm to appear, dancing on her hand. Then, she lifted both hands up.
The glass began to crack. Oh, god. This hurricane-proof, plexiglass, unbreakable wall was about to shatter with the help of one single Blyx.
Several People were up, out of their seats, and at the exit before a rather large break began snaking across the middle of the wall. This was thermal shock. She was using the cold the crack the glass.
I rose and slowly stepped to the railing, staring in awe. I was mesmerized.
While everyone scrambled to get out of the large room, I couldn’t tear my eyes off the cracking glass panel.
The pane shattered into millions of sharp fragments that exploded everywhere. I ducked, but a wicked-sharp shard grazed my forehead. Touching the small cut, my fingers came away sticky and red. I found out two things that day. One, head wounds bleed a lot. A really lot. And two? You’ll see.
The Blyx smiled brutally, chuckling at the river of blood washing down past my right jawline.
That’s about the time when the air was suddenly crisp and freezing. My blonde locks, stuck to my head with blood, froze. A snowstorm was gathered around me. I was trapped in a cocoon of cold. But I wasn’t alone. Hazel stood her ground right beside me. The Snow Queen (or so I still call her today) blew a kiss of intense frostbite towards us and the snow thickened. Enraged, I snapped.
Howling a cry, I swept my hands in front of her. Despite her being about fifty metres away, the Blyx’s mouth dropped open. A wave of water from the stream smashed into her and momentarily, her concentration faltered.
The air already warming up, I launched into the hundred foot drop from the box. I thought, Sparrow, you’re an idiot. You’re going to die now. Came this far to die by your own stupidity? But I was caught in a current of liquid as I hit the ground, sweeping me aside five feet.
Oh, god. Was I doing this? Controlling water with my mind and body?
Unfortunately, the Blyx realized I was controlling the water, and she froze it, leaving me powerless. I knew it was impossible for me to do it again, when the wave of exhaustion hit head-on, but I growled at her anyways.
“You, there!” she pointed to me in a raspy voice. “Come!” she called.
Psh! Ha! As if I was going anywhere near a Blyx!
Hold on. Was I no longer a Person? A Blyx? The realization hit me and an officer at the same time.
“SEIZE THEM!” he cried in his definite outdoor-voice, pointing madly at me and the Snow Queen.
Crap! I hurtled towards the door, five officers bounding after me. I stumbled around houses and buildings, and even my company’s main office. My hair was a river behind me, flowing with the wind. The forest was in sight, and I could lose them in there.
“Stop in the name of the law!” I heard behind me.
I poured on the speed, barrelling into the forest. I ducked under branches and twisted around bushes and trees. I stopped, hiding in a hollow tree. I tried to slow my ragged, rapid breathing so they couldn’t hear me.
In, out. In, out.
I heard the auditorium explode, even from deep in the forest, in the tree.
“Hey,” a slightly low voice was beside me, making me jump and make a small noise.
I stayed quiet; maybe a guard was trying to fool me. It sounded an awful lot like the Snow Queen.
“Hey, Wet Face!” That was the Blyx. For sure.
I ducked out of the massive sequoia and true enough, Snow Queen was picking her nails, waiting.
“We’ve lost ’em,” she assured me.
“Two things. First of all, can I trust you or should I just get out now? Also, do you have a name?” I asked. “I don’t wanna call you Snow Queen forever. Doesn’t have a great ring to it.”
“You can trust me… if you wanna, that is. And of course I got a name,” she told me, talking as if she were teaching a kindergarten kid.
“Then what is it?”
“Sparrow, then. Sparrow Heyes.” I said, patting my head wound and trying to stop the bleeding.
“Ah. I’ve heard of you. You had a decent job. Too bad it’s gone. Anyways, cool name.”
I waited for her to tell me hers but she just kept nodding.
“What’s yours?” I was dumbfounded.
“Ha! As if I’d tell you!” she sniggered. “But since you’re so extremely unobservant,” she laughed, “this is Beetle Brain here.” she picked up a large beetle and shoved it in my face. Dropping it, the bug expanded, changing into a human.
Ah. A shape-shifter.
“My name,” it was a guy with striking good-looks and a brilliant smile, “is not Beetle Brain. It’s Noah.”
“Stop being so dramatic!” Snow Queen chided him. “Showing off it not always the best first impression.” she clicked her tongue.
“Hey, Snow Queen. Why did you try to stop me when I was controlling the water?” I ripped my shirt and tied it around my head, forming a makeshift bandage.
“Blyx can’t start using magic, unchecked. You need to harness and train your abilities, or else bad things will happen. I couldn’t let you get away.”
“But I did.”
“But you did,” she muttered. “I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not.”
Whatever. I was already tiring of her’s and Noah’s company. “Lovely sequoia forest, isn’t it?”
“It would look better covered in frost,” her hands moved up towards the sky.
Despite our protests, she smiled and clenched her fists.
“Kidding. But let’s do something fun.”
“Like being the star of a Ceremony?” An officer stepped out from behind a tree and lunged.