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“Dude, where are you going?” I asked Darious, annoyed. He drags me to this lame, overcrowded party, and then bails as soon as his girlfriend shows up. Some best friend he is.
Darious rolled his brown eyes at me and screamed over the pounding music, “Try to enjoy yourself, Alex. This is a party, relax, man.”
I shrugged my shoulders and walked away. If he doesn’t want to hang out with me that’s his problem. I can enjoy myself at a party. It hasn’t been that long since I went out by myself, has it? Maybe it would be good to meet some new people. Someone who isn’t a foot shorter than me, and doesn’t have annoyingly perfect wavy blonde hair. Darious is my friend, but we’ve been friends too long. We don’t have any secrets left. His baby like face is too familiar.
As I wander throughout the crowd, all the noises of the party seem to hit me 100 times harder than before. The music, the people, even heat is radiating at an incredible degree. I feel like all of my senses are on overdrive. I steady myself on a table piled high with snack food, although no one seems to be touching it.
A mysterious blonde makes her way to me. Her golden hair shines like a beacon. It offers protection and comfort. So when she motions me to follow her, I do. She leads me to a large metal door, and smiles. I can’t help but notice that her beautiful green eyes seem to light up when she smiles. What had I been thinking about not wanting to meet blondes? Nonsense.
I smile at her, but my stomach is starting to clench. My hearing, vision, smell, and sense of reality all drop at an alarming rate. Well what did I expect, to have a high, you must put up with the low. I try to open the door, but find my strength is gone as well. I turn around, looking for the girl who lead me here when- Bam. I got hit on the head with something hard and black. What happened after that? I have no clue.
When I awoke, it was only because a black combat boot-covered foot had kicked me in the stomach while some chick said in a sarcastic tone, “It’s time to wake up sleeping beauty. You might not have slept 100 years, but you’ve got a lot to adjust to.”
“Huh?” I asked, “Who are you? Where am I?”
She muttered idiot under her breath and then said, “My name is Silvia, but everyone calls me Silver. You’re in the Flame; now get up before I pull you up by your girly brown hair.”
At that last remark, I quickly stood up, brushing some dirt off my jeans. When I looked up, I saw the girl fully. She was wearing the black combat boots that kicked me, some netted tights, and a knee-length black tutu, with a black corset and tank top. She was the epitome of Goth. Her hair was jet black, and she had striking blue eyes. She was pale, but it seemed natural, not as if she was covered head to toe in makeup, like the few Goths in my school. Her makeup was dark; tons of mascara and eyeliner, and her lips were crimson red. Like the apple in snow white; poisonous.
“We all play a dangerous game here in the Flame. Some of us are good, and others are evil. It’s your job to decide who’s who, player. It can be tricky, seeing people never seem to want to let you in on which part they play. However, you’ll never get out unless you figure it out. Let the game… begin.”
A million questions raced around in my head. The Flame? What the heck is that? It sounds like a cheesy band name. I have to decide what roll people play? What the heck does that mean? Wait. Why bother with all of these silly questions? This is just a dream. But in that case my mom always says “Even when you think you’re dreaming, act as if you weren’t. You never know what could be real.” I guess I should follow her advice.
When I take in my surroundings I see that I’m standing on a dirt floor, inside an adobe hut with green walls. All of the furniture in the room (which consists of a bed, two chairs, and a small table) are hovering an inch above the ground.
“What the?” I mutter, flabbergasted.
Silver rolls her eyes at me and says, “Well come on all ready. Stop gaping at the change in scenery. If you’re ever going to get out, little jock, you’re going to have to meet the gang. But first, here, take this. It’s a list of some of the people here, and all the roles. You’ll need it to figure this all out.”
Damsel in Distress
So we left the hut and about five seconds after I started walking on a narrow stone path way nearly 20 people crowded me, staring with accusing judging eyes.
“Hey, everybody, chill! This is the new player. I would say be nice to him, because he’s had a really tough night, but we’ve all been through this before, so just act like you usually do. Oh yea, introduce yourselves so we can get this nimrod out of our hair as soon as possible. He hasn’t been awake for even 5 minutes yet and he already bothers me.” Silver said while walking away.
“Wait!” I called after her, “Aren’t you going to show me around? You seem like you are the welcoming committee.”
Even though her back was facing me I could tell she was smiling, “Ok sleeping beauty, I’ll show you around.” And the tour commenced.
After showing me where I would stay in my “hopefully brief time here”, and seeing the basics, kitchen, dining room, farm, socialization space, etc., Silver looked me in the eye and said, “When I say you want to get out of here quickly, I mean it. The people here have been stuck here for years, sometimes even decades. I can’t tell you how we got here without breaking the rules though. What I can tell you is that when you break a rule, bad things happen. Things you don’t want to happen to you. Got that beauty?”
“Yes sir, I mean ma’am, I mean Silver.” I stuttered. Something about this chick made me nervous. And I’m never nervous.
A few days passed. I tried to get to know everyone as well as I could so I could figure out their ‘role’, because the idea of being stuck here another second terrified me. However, I’ve only figured out one so far. His name is Richard, but I call him sparkles because of how his teeth are so white they seem to sparkle. He’s the deceiver. I know because he keeps trying to hint who everyone is, but I can tell he’s not telling the truth. So that’s one out of mandatory five. Great.
Blossom, the blonde who lead me here, and then knocked me out, might be the Damsel in Distress, but at the same time, she lead me here. It’s so confusing.
Since I’ve been trying to get to know these five people, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Blossom and Silver. I find that I like Silver a lot more than I expected to. She’s funny, and smart, and if you can get past her dark look, really quite pretty. And Blossom… She is stunning, and really sweet. She is friendly and has been so helpful with getting me used to everything. I can’t understand why, but Silver seems to really hate Blossom, even though Blossom is really nice to her.
Greggy, one of the other people I need to figure out, reminds me a lot of Darious, who I wish I hadn’t been so mean to the last time I saw him. He’s a lot of fun, but I keep thinking about what Silver said, “…people never seem to want to let you in on which part they play.”
And then there’s Lily. She’s shy, and I can’t figure out much about her. It’s almost as if she’s scared of me. That’s making it really hard to figure out her role.
“Hey, player, come on, it’s time for dinner.” Silver calls. Her voice gives me butterflies. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I cannot be falling for this girl. What if it turns out she’s evil?
“Uh coming…” I call back, nervous by my sudden unfortunate realization.
I rush to catch up with Silver, and grab her arm, “Hey, Silver can I talk to you for a second?”
“Um, sure, Alex. What’s wrong with you? You look like you’re going to be sick.. Oh wait that’s your natural complexion.”
“Silver, I think I might be falling in love with you.” I spit out in a rush.
If it’s even possible, Silver gets paler, and her eyes widen. She clears her throat and keeps her voice even, with visible effort, “Look, Alex. Maybe I don’t really hate you like I might make it seem, but you can’t have feelings for me like that. It’s not my job to make you fall in love with me; that’s not my role! It’s against the rules, and if you can’t extinguish your feelings, just hide them, because it will be dangerous for both of us if you don’t. Dinner is at the camp fire tonight, I’ll see you there.” And after she ripped out my heart, Silver ran off towards the fire, not even bothering to look back.
I need to go talk to Blossom. She’ll help me get through this.
I walked into Blossom’s room, looking for her, and I saw something sticking out from under her pillow. Paper. I walk over to it and pick it up. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Running towards the camp fire, I shout, “I FIGURED IT OUT!!!”
Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy, “What did you figure out, Alex?” Blossom asks innocently. Little evil, manipulating girl.
“I know who your roles are. I know everyone’s role.” I said, trying to sound as angry as I felt.
Blossom’s sweet smile falters, “And what did you figure out?”
“Richard, you’re the deceiver, but I’ve known that since the beginning. Greggy, you’re the sidekick, which as soon as I realized a friend wouldn’t lie to me, wasn’t that hard to figure out. Blossom, you’re the liar, which was super obvious when I think about it now, but I realized it when I went into your room looking for you, and found this.” I shove her stack of paper into her lap. On it was a diary. Her diary. It talked about how easy it was to act like someone she’s not, and how the people she tricked were so gullible. Looking back, it makes me sick to think I trusted her.
Silver looked at me for the first time since I announced I figured it out, “And me? Who do you think I am?”
I smiled, “You really had me going, Silver. I mean, you were mean, sarcastic, cold, and acted as if you thought I was dirt. But I know you’re not the witch. You’re my damsel in distress. I know you’re not the witch because you hate Blossom, who’s the liar. You’re a good person, so it only makes sense that you wouldn’t get along with someone who’s evil. And that just leaves Lilly. I wouldn’t have ever figured out your role if I hadn’t figured out who everyone else was first. But it makes sense. You always acted so shy because you couldn’t let me get to know you. Then I would realize that you’re the witch; you’re the one who is keeping everyone here!”
Before my very eyes, Lily’s muted brunette hair turned fiery red, light eyes became completely black, not even the whites remained, her pink hair bow burned on the ground, and her shy demeanor became fierce and outgoing. Oh god, I was right.
“Congratulations, Alexander Shaw. I thought you would be one of the poor souls I would get to force to stay here forever. Turns out not all athletes are completely incompetent. However, I am not witch. I’m a fairy, or fey as some call my kind. And for your stellar accomplishment, I will grant you one wish, besides allowing you to go home that is. What shall it be, boy? Wealth beyond your wildest dreams, a girl who will fall terribly in love with you, maybe you want to get into a certain college?”
An idea slowly made its way into my “incompetent athlete” brain, “No, I have something different in mind. Lily-“
“Oh please, call me Lilith. Lily is just what I call myself when I’m trying to fool people. Go on.”
“Ok, Lilith, my wish is that every curse you have ever created be ended, so that no one else needs to suffer at your whim!”
Lilith looked surprised at first, but that shock quickly turned into anger, “You vile little human. How dare you think you could do such a thi-!” But before she could finish her thought, she spontaneously combusted, and after a moment, all that was left of the evil creature was ash.
Silver ran over to me, her smile shining brighter than the brightest sun, “I can’t believe you thought of that! That had to be the most brilliant thing I have ever witnessed!” She said, suddenly gaining a thick British accent.
“Why do you sound like you’re from England suddenly? And why did she burn up?!” I asked.
“I’m originally from Britain, so is my sister, Blossom, my brother, Gregory, and my father, Richard. She burst into flame because Lilith was a curse fairy. That means that when all other evil creatures casted curses, she was created. Because she was literally made of curses, making your wish be that every curse she ever made be ended, she herself was destroyed. That was pure genius!”
I blush at her praise, and mutter, “It was nothing… I just couldn’t stand the idea of you being stuck here forever.”
All of the sudden I got the same woozy feeling I got before Blossom knocked me out at the party. Oh no, not again…
I wake up in the hospital. An empty bed is next to mine and my heart aches for Silver. Was it all a dream? Is it really better to have loved and to have lost, then to have never have loved at all?
What if it was real? Could I really have destroyed a fey curse? Can’t wait to put that on the college résumé. Star courter-back, student council vice president, straight A’s, and, oh yeah, I saved 20 people from forever being cursed by an evil fairy to play mind games with innocent teenagers.
I guess I’ll never know.
As I stumble out of the hospital and check the dozens of messages my parents sent me, I ponder what the doctor said to me. There was a girl found with me in the alley I passed out in. She was in the hospital bed next to mine. As soon as she woke up she left, not saying a word to anyone.
Could it have been Silver? No. It was probably just another kid from the party.
“Alex?” I hear behind me.
Turning around, I wonder if I thought she couldn’t exist a moment too soon. Her familiar pale face and black hair began to sooth my nerves, “Silver?”
“So you know who I am?” She asks, bottom lip quivering with an uncertainty I have never seen in her before.
In response I looked at my feet and half said to myself and half said to her, “I think so…”
“So… It wasn’t just a dream?”
Happily ever After!