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I blended with the crowd Shade at my side, his golden hair falling in his green eyes. I could tell he was frustrated that the sun was out this morning.
“I can’t conjure a shadow in this light!”
He whispered, a scowl on his face, I was upset too if he wasn’t able to call on the shadows, then I would have to cause something big enough to catch everyone’s attention. The last time I did something like that, I didn’t have energy to do anything for days.
My black hair whipped around my face as I turned back to the Spanish boy in the middle of the crowd.
He was on his knees, his hands bound behind me. Two soldiers stood on either side of him, their guns raised to his head. He was rather skinny, you could tell by his sunken cheeks]. And his brown curly hair was matted, and untamed, he stank of gasoline, because they had doused him earlier to get the fire going.
He wore a simple prison uniform, the one I wore long ago. I could tell he was afraid, his brown eyes told me everything, but, nevertheless, he held his head high.
I scanned the streets searching for the General, she was later than usual.
I shivered, just thinking of her made me want to hide.
I turned back to shade, pulling the hood of my green cloak further over my head.
“Well I might be able to shift the earth's plates, causing a small earthquake. But it would take a lot of my energy, someone might have to carry me back. ” I said going into full on nerd mode.
Shade was always annoyed when I spouted random facts about the Earth, that's why I did it so much.
Shade nodded his head, a smile playing on his lips, he knew I was trying to annoy him.
“You might have too Earth girl.”
“Don't call me that.” I hissed.
Shade laughed quietly, his eyes searching the streets for a sign of the General.
I looked at the boy again, he looked so vulnerable. Like I felt at my burning ceremony.
I couldn’t help remembering it.
It had been a dull morning, the chilly wind whipping everybody's cloaks around them. Everyone in the crowd had disgusted looks on their faces as they peered at me. And in the middle of it all was me. I must have looked a sight, especially with my newly hacked off hair. The soldiers had decided to play around and cut it down to my shoulders, making sure they cut my skin as well.
I remembered how I had cried that day hoping against hope that someone would come for me, but nobody did. Nobody would ever come for someone like me.
I had always thought like the others, I had always scoffed, and spat at the different people. But today I regretted it, all of it.
I was wearing the brown prison uniform that signaled that I was different, disgustingly different. And my hands were tied behind my back with ropes knotted three times. I twisted my hands in a desperate attempt to get myself free, but it didn’t work that day. I couldn’t use my powers, I needed my hands for that.
The ceremony had started when the General had come down the lane a torch in her hand. Immediately everyone had started chanting.
“Burn! Burn! Burn!”
My brown eyes had widened in fear as the soldiers tied me to a post, and piled kindling around my legs. The General had stopped in front of me and raised her hands for silence.
“Today we will vanquish another threat to our city! But first…”
The General smiled, looking back at me.
“Does anyone wish to claim this beast?”
She wasn’t asking because she pitied me, no she was asking to tease me.
Everyone started yelling at once, but not to claim me, instead they started yelling insults, and spitting at me. Tears stung my eyes as I caught sight of my mother, her eyes were full of hatred, and disgust.
The General laughed.
“Well then let us continue”
The soldiers stepped forward to douse me in gasoline, I closed my mouth and eyes as they poured it over my head, she didn’t have to douse me, but she did.
After I was doused they tied me to the post that was set out. I gagged from the smell of burnt flesh, and gasoline. This post was always reused.
The General raised her torch, and everyone cheered.
“In the name of the town of Crillan I--.”
But before she could finish, screams filled the air.
I looked wildly around, catching the sight of black figures darting around in the frantic crowd. They were simple blobs that kept faltering.The Shadow bender probably didn’t have much experience.
The General rushed into the crowd shouting orders, and trying to calm the people. I remember Shade rushing to me and cutting my ropes. That's how it had all started.
I blinked and focused on the Spanish boy tied to the post.
“Where’s the General?”
I said. Shade looked around, then pointed.
The General was coming down the lane torch in hand. She was just as I remembered her. She still had the same dirty blond hair in a pixie cut. Her blue eyes were still just as cold and lifeless. And she wore exactly the same grey uniform. All the soldiers wore that uniform at burning ceremonies.
I looked to Shade.
“Just give me the signal when your ready.”
He shook his head.
“We have to wait for Nero and Storm. They should have been here by now.”
I looked around the crowd scanning the crowd for Nero, it wasn’t hard since he was so tall.
“There” I said, nudging Shade with my elbow.
Nero turned, and nodded his head to us. He turned and said something to his sister Storm, she looked in our direction, then they started making their way over to us.
Meanwhile the General had stopped in front of the Spanish boy.
“Welcome to another Burning ceremony!”
Everyone raised their fists in the air and cheered. So we didn’t look suspicious, Shade and I followed their example. Hopefully Nero and Storm had done the same.
“Today we rid ourselves of more scum! But first does anyone wish to claim this young man?”
She moved out of the way revealing the Spanish boy. LIke my ceremony, everyone yelled insults. The General peered at the crowd. I stared at her, it looked like she was looking for something. Shade elbowed me, jostling me from my thoughts.
“In three Vanceline.”Shade said.
“I told you to call me Vance.”
“Well you can't have everything now can you?”
Nero was next to me, along with Storm.
“Nothing, we were just talking.”
Storm laughed quietly.
“Yeah sure. Now when are we gonna get this started?”
I shook my head, wearing a bemused smile.
Shade whispered. Storm chuckled.
“This is gonna be fun!”
She said excitedly.
“Let us continue with the Ceremony then!”
Nero cracked his knuckles, and I thrust out my hands.
Shade shouted, I channeled all my energy into the earth, and a rumble shook the crowd. People shrieked and fell to the ground, as a series of quacks shook the houses around us. Storm bumped into Nero, and they tumbled to the ground.
Nero said, Storm stumbled to her feet.
“Shade.” She said “The boy now!”
I looked at the post, where soldiers were frantically trying to light the wood on fire, but the earth shook so violently that they kept falling. The General stumbled.
“Go!” I hissed “I cant break the connection!”
Nero, Shade, and Storm blended into the crowd heading for the boy bound to the post.
The earth shook again, the houses groaned, the asphalt cracked, as I tried to keep my footing.
I caught sight of the General scanning the crowd. I knew what she was doing, she was looking for the person causing all this chaos.
She was looking for me.
I turned my head to were my friends were, Storm and Nero were both holding off soldiers, as Shade tried to free the struggling boy. Suddenly I heard a loud groan behind me. I shifted just as the roof of a house collapsed inward. I shrieked and quickly ducked out of the way, breaking my connection.
I expected everything to stop shaking, but the asphalt still cracked, and houses still fell. It looked as though my little earthquake had turned into a big one.
I yelled, just as a house started to collapse behind him. Black blobs slunk out of the shadows, but quickly disappeared in the sun.
“Oh great Sands of Time!” I cursed.
I touched the ground, more strength being sapped out of me. Vines shot up grabbing the wreckage and tossing it aside.
My knees shook as I stood, I wasn’t sure if it was from the shaking the earth, or my exhaustion. I took one step forward, thankfully it didn’t give way. I kept my eyes on Shade and the others and began stumbling towards them.
When Storm caught sight of me, she yelled something to Nero, who tossed aside a soldier and began running towards me.
“Are you alright!?” Nero yelled.
“I’m fine!” I yelled back just as I collapsed.
Nero knelt down next to me, and lifted me into his arms.
“Shade!” He yelled “Let’s wrap this up!”
“Just go, get to the bunker!” Shade yelled.
Nero carried me into an alley away from the terrified crowd.
He kept running, my body jostling painfully as he dodged rubble, and jumped over bodies.
“We’re almost there.” He promised.
“Not true block head.” I said weakly “It’s another mile.”
“The stones tell you that?”
“Shut up.” I said.
He laughed lightly.
“Whatever you say.”
Soon we came to the edge of the woods.
“Should we wait?” I asked.
Nero shook his head
“No we have to get you to the bunker were Jeanie can help you.”
Nero stepped into the forest, scanning the ground for the entrance to the bunker.
“Nero over th--.”
I tried to point, but I felt too weak to raise my arm. Nero looked to where I had tried to point, and scanned the ground.
After a while he finally found it, he set me against a boulder, and quickly opened the bunker door.
Nero lifted me up, then stared at the ladder leading down to the bunker.
“How do I--.”
His eyes lit up, and he quickly shifted me on to his back.
“Hold on tight.” He said.
Soon we were in the bunker, and Jasmine was helping me get my strength back.
“You should never have pushed yourself so far!”
Jasmine was Thirty-three and the oldest of our group. She always acted like a mom to me, Shade, Nero, and Storm.
She was a round woman, with black hair like mine, and olive skin like Shade’s, her eyes were the color of black coals, and she always smelled of honeysuckle. I loved her but sometimes she was a little overbearing.
“I had to.” I said quietly.
“Sure, sure, you had to overexert yourself as always!”
She pressed a cold rag against my head as the bunker door opened, and Shade, Storm, and the Spanish boy came down the ladder.
“Sorry.” Shade said.
“If we didn’t have a guest I would chop you into little pieces and put you in my soup!” She yelled.
The Spanish boy flinched.
“She’s kidding!” Storm explained “Maybe.”
The boy looked around at all of us, and Jasmine smiled.
“What's your name?”
She said gently.
He responded, Jasmine nodded.
“Well I’m Jasmine and this is Nero, Storm, Shade, and Vanceline. Welcome to the resistance”
The boy looked puzzled
“Don’t you guys have a super cool superhero name?” He said.
Shade kept to the shadowy corners, wisps of shadows curling around him. But when Cade said that, he stepped forward.
“Yeah we do, we’re called the Ravens, I hope that’s cool enough for you. If it’s not we still won’t change it.”