By Beth Lynn

Young adult

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4 mins


Chapter 30

I desperately pointed at the alarm clock.

“It’s after curfew.” I said, “Jamie, you should probably get back. I don’t want another gargoyle at our door.”

“Why are you trying to kick me out? Do you have a problem with me or something!” Jamie demanded.

“Yes,” Mel concurred, “you’ve been acting weird all day. Tell us what’s the matter. Did you get in a fight with Will or something?”

“No!” I cried, “Why does everything have to come back to me and Will. We’re fine! Everything’s fine!”

“We’re your friends, we’re here for you. Please open up.” Jamie persisted.

I sighed and glanced down at their concerned faces. If I was going to be sneaking out daily, they were going to have to be let in on the secret. There was no way around it.

“I’ll tell you,” I decided, “but please, you have to swear that you won’t tell anyone.”

“Of course.” Mel assured me.

“We would never betray you like that.” Jamie added.

“Okay…” I said tentatively.

Where should I start? Wait a minute, why tell them when I could show them. I’d just show them my flames.

Then, I remembered that I had never deliberately created a spark. I didn’t even know if I could.

But, like Will said, practice led to control, and now was a good time to start.

I opened up my hand, exposing the palm, and willed fire to come to me. Nothing happened. A knock at the door interrupted my focus.

“Shoot you’re right! It’s probably a gargoyle again. I should really abide by the curfew.” Jamie hissed.

I waited for her to hide before going to open the door.

Sure enough, Jamie was correct, a gargoyle, once again, stood before me.

“Yes?” I asked impatiently, but nonetheless politely.

“The council has requested an emergency meeting with you, Ms. Foster.” it growled.

“It’s Rodriguez-Foster.” I corrected the gargoyle, “And I can’t leave. It’s curfew.”

“This request preempts that rule. Come with me now and you will not be in trouble.” The command was much more threatening coming out of such a beast.

“Okay,” I said calmly, “Let me just grab a coat.”

“No coat is necessary. Come as you are now.” It demanded.

“Go with him, Carly. You can tell us whatever you were about to tell us later. This sounds serious.” Mel told me.

I nodded, took one last look at my the room and my concerned friends, before finally following the gargoyle out the door.

“Can you tell me what’s going on?” I asked as the gargoyle led me to Glacier Hall.

“You will find out whence we arrive.” it replied coldly.

I’d better not say anything else. The last thing I needed was the gargoyle getting annoyed, or worse angry. So, the rest of the brisk walk was silent.

The secretary at the desk in Glacier Hall said nothing as we ventured right past her and to the stairs.

“Can’t we take the elevator. It’s like twenty flights.” I complained.

“The lift is a luxury.” Was the only response the gargoyle gave me.

I groaned and followed the creature up the stairs, counting each flight in my head.

At long last, we reached the final flight that led to the floor where the council presided.

I gasped when I found them all seated in the lobby of their office, as if they were waiting for a confrontation.

Each held a solemn face, hands clamped together on the table. The group seemed to be lacking its charm without Will.

Cornelius cleared his throat. "It has been brought to our attention that your power, which happens to coincide with your bat, has become apparent. Are we mistaken?” he said.

“W-where did you hear that?” I stammered.

“Do not underestimate our power. Glacier takes its security very seriously and prides itself on surveillance.” Cornelius replied.

Shoot! I had forgotten that Cornelius had warned me about Glacier’s security team beforehand. There was still no definite proof, though. What good was surveillance if none of Glacier’s citizens could show up on camera?

“Well, don’t just stand there dumbfounded! Tell us if it’s true you, foolish girl!” a councilman shouted at me.

I opened my mouth slightly, but then closed it once more like a gapping fish. Choosing my words very carefully, I stated,“It’s under control. There is no need to worry.”

“Under control?” Cornelius echoed, “Is that so?”

I nodded shakily.

“Then show us!” he commanded.

“What?” I asked.

“Show us how controlled you are. Go on!” he insisted.

I stared down at my trembling hands. I really didn’t like where this was going.

‘Just do what you were about to do for Mel and Jamie’. I told myself

But what was that exactly?

“What are you waiting for! Demonstrate!” Cornelius screamed.

“Alright, alright! I’m trying!” I yelled right back.

It was just like my bat, I presumed, only this time instead of becoming the flames, I was creating them.

I imagined the fire in my hands. I envisioned the heat, and the way the yellow sparks twinkled as they danced around.

Cornelius continued to pressure me.

“Stop stalling! Do it now or I will—“

His threat was unfinished by the time the fire had escaped my palms and streamed forward in a straight line, flinging itself onto him.

This was not good to say the least! I put my hands down to stop the incoming flame source, but the damage was done. Cornelius was on fire and screaming in pain.

His shouts of agony seemed to drag on forever, but eventually a councilman put it out with an extinguisher.

Oh man! I was in big trouble! Goodbye Will. Goodbye violin. Hello ice prison, otherwise known as hell frozen over.

“I will give you the benefit of the doubt and presume that you are not under control. And that action was not done on purpose.” Cornelius said, his voice now hoarse.

“It was an accident.” I said earnestly, “Each time was. The curtains, Mrs. Lam’s classroom, the bleachers, I didn’t mean to do any of it.”

“I told you!” a councilman whispered.

“Silence!” Cornelius hissed at him, but his eyes remained glued on me.

But then he said something rather surprising. “It is understandable,” he stated, “While still emerging it’s perfectly normal for powers to be out of control.”

Huh. Maybe Will was wrong. All this worrying was for nothing. I was sure they would just have me practice with Mr. Palmer, and I’d have it down in no time.

“But on the contrary,” Cornelius countered, “your case is rare and dangerous.”

My sporadic moment of hope faded.

“As you have proven just now, you are capable of hurting others. Not to mention there is the possibility of melting our home, forcing us to evacuate and face the fatal sun.” he said.

I took a huge risk and asked, “Would that really be so bad? Why can’t we find a new location that shields us from sunlight?”

“Do you hear how ignorant you sound?” Cornelius cried, “We have lived here for thousands of years! Who will guard the goblins? It is our job to keep them from escaping. If we abandon the ice fortress, there will be no force to stop them.”

Odd that he would bring up the goblins. I wondered if there was some merit to Phil’s prophecy. But I knew that bringing up the prophecy at this point would shed even more negative light onto me, so I kept my mouth shut.

“Until you can prove to us that you are no longer a threat, we see no other choice but to confine you.”

I heard the words Cornelius stated, but could not comprehend them.

My mouth went dry, I had no response. I just stared blankly at Cornelius, not making a single muscle movement.

“Did you hear him, miss? There will be gargoyles to escort you to your holding chamber arriving shortly.” a councilman said.

“How long?” I asked, barely above a whisper.

I doubted they heard me, but sure enough Cornelius replied, “As long as necessary.”

That was a lie! Once in the chamber, there was no going back. They would never come check to see if I could prove myself, I’d be alone in a tiny cell for the rest of my life.

“Please!” I begged, “Let me work with Mr. Palmer and Will. I’ll get the hang of this. I promise I will! Just don’t lock me up and leave me there forever!”

“That is not in your best interest. We are protecting you from yourself.” Cornelius said.

I shouted a word that would make my mother cringe and suddenly the entire room was engulfed in flames.

I made a dash for the door, leaving the council to burn to death. A trail of fire that I couldn’t control followed me out.



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