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The Power to Cry
Thunder rumbled as lightning flashed against the velvet darkness of the sky .Inside the basement of a small cottage, a man adorned in robes more rich in fabric than the stormy sky scrambled against time to finish his experiment. He added a handful of sand to a light green mixture on his tiny worktable and the liquid that sparked and frothed .
The man, whose full name was Lord Ryland Myrring, turned to see a pale, raven haired woman , her ball gown’s loveliness marred by a ragged apron and her pale hands clasping a tiny infant. The woman was Ryland’s assistant, Lady Creed.
“What do you want, Creed.”
“The storm,” she answered, “Some people would see that as an omen”
Ryland turned back to his work, “Our kind makes the omens”
“All the more reason to pay attention, “giggled Lady Creed
Ryland said, “Hand me the baby.”
Lady Creed’s face lit up as the handed Ryland a cute baby girl from the counter, “Does this mean you are done.”
“Yes. The mixture will give the baby power to control all the elements,” Ryland smiled, “Even water.”
Creed gasped “Without harm?”
Ryland poured the mixture down the baby’s throat, “Hopefully. I wouldn’t test on her, but the mixture only works on children this ag-
The baying of dogs sounded outside the door, Lady Creed screamed, “It’s them!”
Fear flashed on Ryland’s face and he shed his velvety overcoat, wrapping the child in its warmth, “Take the baby.
Lady Creed turned to a dark stairwell, but then hesitated “Name her.”
He scowled, “Mary, Connie, Sue, I don’t know just get out of here!”
“I’m not leaving until you give her a real name!”
Lord Ryland touched the baby in an oddly affectionate gesture, “Name her Grace. We’ll need more than luck to keep her safe.”
Twelve years later, in the stunningly beautiful embodiment of spring that was the garden of the cottage where the experiments had happened, Grace Myrring leans forward in her seat, “Ryland named me?”
Lady Creed nods, “Well he is your uncle. And after your parents died he was the only person you had left.”
“And then he dumped me on you, and you dumped me on the state.”
Lady Creed says “I’m here now.”
“Why?” Grace whispers, her short, light blonde hair falling over her eyes “Because I burned down my school and now you’re afraid I’m a problem.”
“Hey, that teacher was asking for it,” Creed shifts uncomfortably, “Actually, I need your help.”
Grace rolls her eyes, almost disguising the death of the hope she had secretly held to be wanted for once in her life, “I knew it.”
“Grow up, Grace.” Lady Creed smiled, “Only the people who tell you what they want, right up front what they want, they are the only ones you can trust.”
“That’s so sweet I could cry.”
Creed giggled, “Why not? Thanks to your brilliant uncle, water will not dissolve you like it would one of us.”
Grace narrows her eyes, “Us? Who are us?”
“Some people call us angels, “laughs Lady Creed.
Grace says confusedly,“So do you work for,” Grace points to the sky, “him?”
Lady Creed shrugs, “We aren’t supposed to work for anyone but humans, but then someone, a very man, broke the rules. He only wanted to serve himself.”
“Most humans are like that.”
Lady Creed says, “No, they aren’t. They want to be good, they just need help.”
Grace replies, “From you?”
“Actually, our goal is to prevent to apocalypse.”
Grace lets out a manufactured snort of laughter.“The world is going to end? Yeah, maybe a couple million years from now”
“The world is broken”, Lady Creed smiles, “If we fix it, the world could possibly last forever. If we don’t, who knows?”
“So are you fixing it?”
“Are you kidding? We’re barely holding it together. Actually, one man is holding it together. His name is Arthur Red Dragon. And someone, one of us, is trying to kill him.”
“How do you know?” Grace asks, interested in spite of herself.
“I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. So will you help us?”
“I-I guess”, agrees Grace nervously “It’s a lot of pressure.”
“Now for the hard part, convincing the court”, says Lady Creed, ignoring Grace’s remark about pressure.
Grace asks “The court?”
Later that week, Grace stands in the courtroom, facing the panel of people mad up of if a grand judge, a hard looking blond lady called Suriana Reate, and two advisors, a friendly man named Ganter, and a wisecracking youth who went by Hennu Turidanna.
“Are you there”, asks Ganter after the judge announces her verdict, “Grace?”
“Yeah, I’m here. Did Suriana just say I’m not going to be punished for existing?”
“I think so” Hennu laughs, “I’ve worked with her for twenty years, and I still don’t understand her jargon.”
Suriana ignores Hennu, “Young lady, you are to call me Grand Judge Reate, and yes, you are acquitted of that charge.”
“But-, Grace predicts under her breath.
“But,” Suriana says, “You are still on trial for burning down the school.”
“I didn’t mean to”
They all roll their eyes simultaneously.
“I know you made the decision before you got here, and nothing I say will change anything,” Grace says, trying to keep her temper in check,
They all nod in stern agreement
“But I just want to say, um, which of us haven’t burned down our school when we were young?”
“I like her”, laughs Hennu, “Besides, she’s right. We all know that we “I agree,” adds Ganter.
“Well that’s that,” answers Suriana, “Go protect Arthur. Maybe he can patch up the world, with your help.”
“Wait,” Grace says, inspired by the success, “I want to see Lord Ryland.”
He’s in a prison, called the eternal. It’s called that because the prisoners remain ageless while inside. If the prison is destroyed, they will die. No one has escaped the prison before, so no spells exist to keep the prisoners inside besides the strong locks on the doors. The corridor leading to Lord Ryland’s cell is fancy, with golden columns, and ornate rugs. His cell is made out of ugly stone, with none of the loveliness of the outside, and even the small stretch of wall Ryland looks out on every day, is a sloppily painted white. A pile of black and gold robes is piled in a corner, but Grace doesn’t see Lord Ryland. She crouches near the cold bars.
“Lord Ryland?” Grace calls, motioning for the guards that escorted her here to go away.
“He’s dangerous,” protests one.
“No, he isn’t” Says Grace. She calls to Ryland, “Daddy!”
The pile of robes gets up. Lord Ryland looks young, like twenty. He has dusty blond hair and dull eyes that must have been full of mischief once, “Don’t call me Daddy. The man who is truly your father is a much better man than me.”
“What should I call you?”
Lord Ryland sits near the bars, “Call me anything you want, anything but father, or dad.”
Grace smiles, “Okay, Mom”
“Hey!” he scolds, “But you are just like your Mother. Witty, brave, and so beautiful” he catches her cheek in a cold hand, “I’m sorry.”
Grace shivers at the clammy feeling of his fingers, “Why?”
“Everyone is using you, including me.”
Grace realizes what he’s saying, “You want me to get you out?”
He winces, dropping his hand, “I love you, I love you, I love you, and I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t urgent for me, and you, and the world, and Creed-
“Shut up.” Grace orders, she takes a deep breath, “tell me how to get you out of here now. I need you. And… you sacrificed yourself for me. So that’s good karma, right?”
He nods sadly,“Close your eyes and open your palm.”
“Now visualize all the elements combining to form a key. Feel the key in your hands.”
“I feel it!” Grace says surprised.
“Good. Now don’t over think it. Say “Locotiss Mynnitd sobon Lord Ryland Myrring.”
Grace tries not to shout, although she feels the power inside her “Locotiss Mynnitd sobon Lord Ryland Myrring!”
She opens her eyes, and to her surprise, she saw the key in her hand.
“I made it!”
“Shh. But I’m proud of you.”
This is the moment Grace has been waiting for her whole life, “What does it mean?”
“It means, Key of all keys, take Lord Ryland Myrring to the place he wants to be when he puts you in the iron lock.”
“Are you sure you aren’t paraphrasing?”
He chuckles, and one of the guards calls Grace nervously, “Are you done yet, miss? Judge Reate made us promise to get you to the airport in time for your flight.”
She drops the key into his hand, “Take care of yourself, Uncle Ryland.”
“I love you.”
“Love you back.”
Grace sits in a tiny airplane chair, wonderin how long the flight is when the peanuts will arrive, and why the council is sending a child to do an adult’s job. Burning down a school and making a key appear were useful skills, but she didn’t know how they would help save the world, unless the world was in danger of education and locked doors. A man sitting next to her smirks.
She jump, “How do you know my name?”
He smells like the cold clutches of death, and his eyes are violet, “I’m part of the reconstruction. We need to destroy to rebuild. Prepare to be destroyed, Myrring!”
His cold slimy hands reach for her throat, and squeeze. She’s aware of the people around her screaming , but all she can feel is him, all she can see is his eyes. She gathers her power to kill him-
And a tray of food smashes onto his head. Grace looks up to see a pretty flight attendant smiling at her, “Would you like the salmon or the chicken for your in-flight meal today?”
Meanwhile, Lord Ryland Myrring is enjoying the hospitality of a walk-in closet. His breathing is quiet, and his hands are stiff. He has never felt so good. The reconstruction had decided to let him take down the Red Dragon. He would be the one to destroy the world, and, with Grace, the one to rebuild it. The other reconstructions were prepared to die and be remade, and all with Grace’s magic. Ryland would be the president, judge and jury for the new earth.
He reaches for his bow, and expertly fits a blood red arrow to the string.
A limo driver in a crisp black suit smiles, tucking Grace’s tip into his pocket, “Have a good night, now!” he calls.
Grace nods and walks into the crumbling hotel, the limo is parked near, although she isn’t quite sure hotel is the right name for it. The court told her a lot this place. It’s a dive, with two large, bare rooms on each of the seven floors; including the lobby. Arthur lives in room 2 B.
Grace enters the old fashioned lobby, through a propped open door. The reason for the lack of security is probably that there’s nothing in here worth stealing. The couch is saggy; the wallpaper is ripped, and no two pieces of furniture match. Even the girl working the front desk looks tired and rundown. Grace tries to smile, and walks towards, the desk, as a bloodcurdling scream sounds.
Grace is running before she knows what’s happening. Somehow, instinctively, she knows that the person screaming is Arthur Red Dragon, the person holding the world together, the person she had come to protect. Her eyes, rolling about wildly, find an ancient wooden staircase, and without even wondering if it will hold her weight, she rushes up it.
The scream gets louder near the locked door of 2B. Grace slams her hand against the old wood, sudden rage giving her the same power she’d had making the key. Flames curl out from around her fingertips, exactly as they had when she’d burned the school.
“Only burn the door!” orders Grace, horrified. Somehow, her quiet command stops the flame from spreading, and they burn themselves out quickly, as the door crumbles to ashes. Grace steps through the door to find a young man sitting in an armchair facing her. His hair is as red as the blood blossoming on his chest, and the crimson arrow that surrounds it.
Grace runs to his side, “Arthur?”
He takes her hands, “Hurry, Grace. We can combine our power to heal the universe, before I die.”
Grace sobs “You won’t die! I didn’t come here just to let you die!”
Grace tries to summon her power, but finds something blocking her mind. She whirls around to see Lord Ryland, still holding the bow he used to shoot Arthur, “Come Grace”, he thunders, “we will remake the world perfectly, and you and I will rule.”
Grace’s jaw drops, her body slack with shock, “How did you get here?”
“You told the key ‘, take Lord Ryland Myrring to the place he wants to be when he puts you in the iron lock’,” Ryland laughs, “First rule of magic, Grace, be specific. I’ll teach you all that I know, and we’ll rule together for all eternity. Just say yes.”
She raises an eyebrow, “ So I helped you escape prison and you completely messed up my first job, tricked me, and now you are pointing an arrow at me? How is that for gratitude?”
“I’m not supposed to be the one teaching you manners!” she screams, “You made me what I am. You gave me my power, but you’re nothing as a father, Ryland! You’re nothing to me.”
Ryland shifts uncomfortably, “Hear me out. You were raised as an orphan, Grace. Just like I was. Like me, you saw people, bad people. They were selfish, horrible idiots, some who tried to foster you for money, some who put up with you to show off how charitable they are to their wife, girlfriend-disgusting. We’ve seen it all. The human race is a travesty. With your power, now that Aurthur is dying, we can fix this. Just tell me you will!”
Grace suddenly wants to tell him she will. She wants to go with him with a furious intensity that threatens to tear her body apart. She thinks about Creed’s annoying giggling, the people screaming around her on the airplane as she was being strangled, screaming but doing nothing. Grace remembers being beaten by her teacher for accidentally breaking his laptop, and the power surges in her like it did then, when she burnt down a school building to punish him. Being alone at her lunch table… the time someone had poured cow blood over all her books-
But then she remembers the girl who had lent her clean textbooks, the teachers that always had a smile, and a kind word for her, Lady Creedfishing her out of her school’s ashes, the flight attendant who had saved her life, Hennu…Ganter… the limo driver, and even Ryland. He’s a good man, Grace knows, but not good enough to rule the universe. Not good enough to be executed like the murderer he is-
“I will never join you!” Grace screams, and she finds that she’s surprised her uncle so much, he’s forgotten about blocking her power. She lets a cloud form inside her, and pushes it out of her body o hang ove Ryland’s head.
“Rain!” she calls
As soon as Ryland finds out he’s dying, he takes an envelope out of his robes, and holds it out. Grace takes it, watching peacefully as the rain pounds him into nothing.
Arthur is somehow still alive, and she takes his hand, “What will this “fixing the world” do?”
“It will not change the lives of humans but preserve them. Without it, the world will explode into countless piece . You’re a good girl, Grace. I was a good man. Trust me.”
She nods, and summons the power, letting it flow out until she feels the universe righting itself with the energy. Arthur slumps forward, the effort of saving the world stealing his life.
A week later, Graces is sitting in the cottagegarden, and for once, everything feels good. She fingers her uncle’s letter, finally ripping it open, and sobbing and smiling as she reads.
If you’re reading this, you didn’t side with me, or I died. Maybe you killed me! I am sure you will join me, so you will probably never read this, but I’m sorry for tricking you and sending the man to scare you on the plane,(He didn’t hurt you, did he? I told him not to.), and I know you made the right choice.
There is a girl I have known
Her strength is her father’s
Her smile is her mother’s
Her heart is her own
It’s not under lock
It’s not under key
It’s there on her sleeve
It’s in the right place
She’s the reason for living
My Amazing Grace