The X'sI walked through the forest at ease, even though it was late at night and I could not see much. When in confusion or distress this is where I go to clear my head. I found a spot next to a tall, thick tree and sat on the cold ground. It was so eerily quiet that I jumped at the sound of dry leaves crumble under me. I sat against the tree and got lost in thought. I mostly thought about how it’s been a year since my mom died in a car accident. It’s quite tragic to lose your mother at the age of 13; but then again it’s hard to lose a parent period. To top off my incredibly horrid luck, weird things have been happening to me. No one knows about it but Maxx who is my older brother. One of these weird things is that my Uncle has been giving me looks, like he’s waiting for me... It scares me to say the least.
I opened the palm of my hand and a blue ball of fire shot from the palm of my hand. I don’t know why it happens, but it scares me. I hate it; I wish this wasn’t happening to me. I watched the fire ball in my hand with pure hate. I clenched my jaw, got up and threw the fire ball away and caused a small electric blue fire in the forest. The fire built up some light in the dark so I could see three silhouettes of men. I squinted my eyes and saw that one was my uncle. I gasped as they came closer to me and then I felt a hard impact to the back of my head and everything went black...
Smack! Smack! I slowly opened my eyes and groaned at the stinging pain in my cheek, did someone slap me? I looked around wide eyed to see I was in a large unfamiliar room full of black hooded people, I could see no one’s face. I panicked and fidgeted around and noticed that I was knelt down with both hands tied to two poles on both sides of me.
I continued to fidget until I looked up and saw both of my Uncles and my Aunt smiling down at me. They sat down in three big golden chairs behind me. Uncle started to speak but I didn’t hear. I was in pure shock, what caught my attention was a shiny silver dagger in his hand. He turned to me and looked into my eyes. He walked over to me and knelt down to my level.
“You will have great power Laurie... I promise, this will be over before you know it.” He assured me.
With that said he brought the blade to my bare chest and started to slice my skin, making a line. I screamed from the pain but also felt the power enter my body. He started on another line and I continued to scream. Once he finished I felt a great jolt of power ignite in me and my whole body lit on fire. I looked down at myself with wide eyes; I was covered in blue unruly flames. I felt no burning, just the pain in my chest where there was an ‘X’ mark. I looked up at the ceiling and screamed until my lungs ached and my throat could take no more.
An hour later when I calmed down, Uncle started talking. I zoned out completely. My body hung limply, the only thing keeping me from falling over to the ground was my hands tied to the poles. My head hung down facing the floor; making my neck ache. My wrists were sore from the tight ropes clenched around them. I listened in a little on what he was saying to the massive group in front of me.
“...this is the beginning of a new era...an era more powerful than any other...we are making history...this is the era of the Phoenix!” I heard him yell and there was a loud wave of cheers from the massive group of black hooded people, I kept my head down.
Then they went quiet and I heard Uncle walk towards me.
“It is your time now...” I slowly moved my head up.
“...Alexa.” Uncle said and I looked up into the eyes of my cousins who filled up the large room, all in black robes...
5 Years later...
I took a heavy breath with every blow to the punching bag, then with a swift movement I karate kicked the heavy bag and it went flying across the room. I was about to do it again when my I phone buzzed in my pocket. I wiped off my sweaty hands on the rag in my back pocket and answered my phone; I knew exactly who it was.
“Uncle Xavier?” I asked in a respectful tone.
“I need you and the boys to come back to the mansion, we are having an initiation ceremony in two hours, and you have till then to get here.” He said in a serious tone.
“Yes Uncle.” I said before hanging up.
I remember my initiation; I lifted up my shirt over my head and traced the ‘X’ that was carved into my skin with the sacred dagger of our great ancestors. The ‘X’ was carved over my heart where it is supposed to be, every one of us has one, it is now a mere scar. You see I am part of a family full of assassins that goes back centuries, we are called ‘The X’s’ that’s why we all have an ‘X’ in our names. My old name was Laurie but it was changed to Alexa at my ceremony. When we have our initiation ceremony we get a new name instead of what our parents named us. I guess you could call it our rebirth, almost like the phoenix when it burns and is reborn from the ashes.
What we do is we secretly work with the FBI, Police and a bunch of secret agencies to assassinate people; they pay us a load of money for these missions to be performed. We are well known around the world and feared. They only usually bring us into a situation that they can’t handle. We get missions that they give to Uncle Xavier and Uncle gives it to one of our groups.
All of our groups are posted in each state in the U.S. and in foreign countries; we all stay in touch. My group dominates Brooklyn, New York. You see we are not human, we appear human but we have super strength and some of the lucky ones have extra powers.
I have the power of fire, but it’s not the kind of fire you see everyday, it burns in blue flames. It only burns when I want it too or when I’m mad and can’t control it.
We all have a wild side in us; a side that we choose to keep caged up. The reason for it is that our wild side is like a completely different person. It’s kind of like an alter ego bit not quite. We’re the same person but different. More mischievous… clever… and stronger than we already are, and once we let the wild take over… we could never stop it, no one ever has.
Every family member has their initiation at the young age of 14; yes you probably think it’s wrong but best to learn young, so far I am the only one that started the youngest that’s why at my age I am the best at what I do.
I had my ceremony at the age of 13 because my mom died in a car accident and I had no guardian except for my Uncle Xavier who took me and my brother in. My two uncles Xavier and Xander and my Aunt Lexis run the business right now, we have lots of other uncles and aunts around the world but these three were chosen to take over.
I took off my workout clothes and took a fast shower in my bathroom upstairs; I stepped out and put on my bra and underwear before walking to the full length mirror and looking at my slim body. I had a tattoo of my mom’s name in Chinese letters down the side of my upper arm. Her name was Mary, a big tattoo of the cross on the right hand corner of my upper back, and a tattoo of an ‘X’ on the side of my neck some of us have this.
I ran a hand through my long silky dark brown almost black hair and stared into my piercing blue eyes in the mirror that reminded me so much of my mom. I couldn’t care less about my dad because he left my mom, my older brother Logan(Maxx), my little sister Loraine, and me for some other woman when I was 5, Loraine was 10 weeks old in my mom’s womb and Maxx was 7. He hadn’t even tried to make contact with us, we hate him for it.
So I live with my older brother Maxx and a family friend Axel. After Maxx and my initiations we were separated from our little sister Loraine who was still a young girl so she was sent off to live with an adoptive family in Los Angeles California until she was old enough for her initiation. Axel lost his parents too so we took him under our wing, him and my brother have been friends for years before he lost his parents. He’s now one of us.
I put on a black tank top, black tights, my gun belt with two hand guns and our traditional sword which we don’t usually carry for real executing because it is too bulky and we only use it for a serious fight. I slipped on the traditional black rode that went down all the way to my feet, it had a sown on fancy metallic blue ‘X’ over the heart. The metallic blue ‘X’ represents my group which is me, Axel and Maxx. We are the smallest group because we are the best and don’t need any other members in our group, black was basically the traditional color everyone has to wear it during an initiation and execution.
All the other groups are our hundreds of cousins that are assigned together, they all have different colored ‘X’ marks. We have hundreds of cousins because we have family all over the world, all of our family members are forced to have kids so that we can keep this business going for as long as possible, and who is more reliable than family? I left the hood on the robe down and put on black glossy pumps that all of the girls will be wearing, during the ceremony all girls are to leave their hair down so I just left my hair its natural wavy and put on some lip gloss before going upstairs to Maxx’s room to find both boys sitting on the bed playing Halo on the PS3.
“C’mon guys, Uncle Xavier called and told us to be ready for an initiation ceremony that starts in two hours, so hurry up and get ready.” I said.
Axel sat up from his laying down position and checked me out from head to toe.
“Looking good babe.” I blushed a little at his comment and his beautiful accent that I love so much, but thankfully he didn’t notice.
He calls me ‘babe’ sometimes. Axel has all powers mixed together but the power he uses most is getting into people’s head and making them do what he wants. It’s scary but also cool and attractive knowing how powerful he is, but when he’s mad he loses it, his whole eyes turn pitch black, the skies gloomy, there is lightning, thunder, storms, tornados, tsunami’s, earthquakes, hurricanes and just chaos happens and people die, but unlike me he can’t control it, it’s almost like he’s not even himself anymore. Axel is the strongest species known to man, the Phoenix.
Uncle knew he was the Phoenix when we found out what his powers was, but he usually only uses one power weird huh? But it’s not a natural power since he’s not actually our blood but he was lucky because he got injected with Uncle’s blood which contains his power which somehow makes him stronger than Uncle. Uncle is what we call a mix breed; he has all the powers that we all have mixed together. But Axel is The Phoenix, which makes him 100 times stronger than Uncle. No one knows how to kill Axel, we don’t even know if he can die. I’m supposed to lead him toward his destiny and I don’t even know what that is.... I eyed him too that’s when I noticed he was shirtless showing off his muscular arms.
He ran a hand through his blonde hair that was spiked up in the front; his green eyes looked me up and down while the diamond stud in his left ear glistened in the light. Axel has a lean body and much defined eight pack that lots of girls swoon over, he looked like a male model. Axel never had feelings for me and he still doesn’t, he cares for me like how Maxx cares for me and he made it pretty clear.
Of course he flirts with me; I mean he’s a player. But it means nothing to him; he always has a new girl. He got up and squeezed past me to get to his room across the hall while Maxx turned off the PS3 and got into his bathroom to get ready. I ran downstairs and waited for them. When they came down I looked at them. They wore black muscle shirts, and dark wash jeans that hung low on their waist. They had their black robes hung over their shoulder.
We headed out to our cars, I had a black Porsche, Vixen had a black Lamborghini Murcielago with butterfly doors, and Maxx had a black Lamborghini Gallardo with butterfly doors. We basically raced to the mansion at the speed we were going, no cops pulled us over because we’re on the same side. But also because they are scared of us but mostly Axel, everyone is, and we don’t only kill bad people but anyone who messes with us or gets in our way. Sweet huh? It’s always good to have cops on your side.
When we got to the mansion there was hundreds of expensive sports cars parked all around. The mansion was in a secret location that no one but us was allowed to enter. The guys slipped on their robes and pulled the hood over their heads so you couldn’t see their face. I pulled the hood over my head too before going to the huge double doors to the mansion.
We just opened the doors and walked in and went to where my uncle’s study is and used the secret passage way through the bookcase. I pulled out the black book and the whole shelf disappeared into the ground revealing the golden doors to the ceremony. The doors had a big ‘X’ on them, so I opened the door and walked into the massive room where everyone was socializing; it was so loud and crowded that no one noticed us arrive, all the while I can’t remember most of their names because we have so many cousins. Everyone wore a black robe with a different colored ‘X’ on it, they all had their hoods pulled over their heads that covered their faces like us, our uncles and aunts were nowhere to be found, probably because the ceremony hasn’t started yet.
The massive room was made entirely of solid gold, and was decorated with elegant candles and torches, which was the only light in the room so it was slightly dark. At the far wall were the initiation takes place was the three big golden chairs for my uncles and my aunt, we called them the elders and all of us were a part of the council.
When the ceremony started, two men played an elegant tune on their trumpets that signaled everyone to be silent. Our uncles and aunt walked out and sat down, they signaled the two men to get whoever they were initiating. They came back with a girl that looked 14 years old with long wavy blonde hair and blue eyes; she was trying to wiggle out of their death hold on her arms, she sobbed rather loudly, I recognized her as Jennifer, my aunt Maxi’s daughter. They brought her in front, where my uncles and aunt sat and made her kneel before them.
“Uncle! Why are you doing this?!” she sobbed with her squeaky voice.
“Hush Child you will thank me soon enough.” He said.
He stood up from his seat between my uncle and aunt and stood before us in his black robe; he pulled down his hood and revealed his face, he looked really good for a 40 year old, he looked like he was in his late twenties. This signaled everyone to do the same, everyone in the room pulled off their hood.
“We have gathered all of our children here today for a special ceremony, each and every one of you have been in this situation so have patience and consideration for your cousin, with that brief message let us get to the point, I would like Alexa Stone to come forward, daughter of my sister Mary Stone.” He said while looking around for me, he said my mom’s name because there were so many Alexa’s here. I pushed through the crowd and came to the front of the room when I stood in front of him I bowed down to him; he smiled a warm smile at me.
“Uncle.” I said in a respective tone.
“Alexa, I figured since you started the youngest and have been doing this younger than anyone of your cousins you should do the honors this time.” He said to me.
“The honors?” I asked confused.
He turned towards my other uncle who picked up the ceremonial dagger and held it as if it were something delicate that could be broken if dropped. He handed it to my uncle who handed it to me. I looked down at it in shock, the blade was shiny and silver with carving in it which was in a foreign language, you could tell it was well kept, exactly how I remember it; he wanted me to make the mark.
“I-I don’t know are you sure?” I asked not looking away from the dagger in my hand.
“Look at me Alexa.” He said while putting two firm hands on my shoulders, I looked up into his cold silver eyes.
“You can do this, you’re ready.” He said before moving out of my way to reveal my little cousin wiggling in the man’s hold, she suddenly turned invisible.
I hesitated for a second, so that’s her power. I saw the men still struggling with her invisible figure. I got nervous but I remembered my motto: ‘No fear, No mercy, No holding back.’ I caught myself fast and found myself walking towards Jennifer’s invisible figure, the man slapped her across the face and she became visible again, the two men pulled off her shirt to reveal her sports bra and her pale chest, she sobbed when she saw the blade in my hand, she looked up into my eyes with her dark blue eyes, the way she looked at me made me want to cry for her, but I had to stay strong. But I couldn’t help but know that those eyes would haunt me forever, the way she looked at me made me feel heartless, how did Uncle do this so many times over not feeling any guilt at all.
My face showed no emotions but inside I was dying, I was always good at hiding what I was feeling, in this business you had to, if you speak against anyone of our elders, let’s just say that every person that did we never saw them again.
“Please, Laurie, please!” she sobbed. She knew my real name but knew nothing of ‘The X’s’ or of my new name.
“I’m sorry.” I said before taking the dagger and pressing it to her chest.
Every movement I made with the blade on her chest made her scream a blood hurdling scream. It was so high pitch and loud that the whole room was silent in shock it even echoed. I was done with the first line; I formed another line overlapping the first to form an ‘X’. When I was done she was silent and breathing heavy, there was blood spilling down her chest, she looked as if she would pass out, I had blood on my hands and I was surprised because I kill all the time, why does it bother me when I do this? I mean I didn’t kill her. Maybe it’s because she’s just a kid. I mean killing a criminal that kills innocent people is one thing but this? I was shaking in shock, how could I do this? To a kid? My cousin specifically.
I felt like a monster, I must have looked like I saw a ghost because Vixen and Maxx came to my rescue from the stares that I was getting from everyone. They wrapped their arms around my waist and dragged me back into the crowd and Uncle went on with his speech and announced her new name, it was Alexandra.
“You will start your training on how to use your powers, when you are 15 you will be assigned to a group.” Uncle went on.
All of us have two hand guns, but we can choose to have an extra weapon, I always had a passion for swords we don’t really need weapons considering we have powers but they help sometimes. 15 is the standard age to start in a group but I was the youngest member EVER to be in a group, I started immediately because I was a fast learner and they saw it, of course not as good as Axel but I was good for someone with a single power, it could have been worst, I could have been one of the ones who have no extra power, just strength.
Everyone said I was born to kill, but I have a heart and feelings too, and it doesn’t feel good when everyone thinks your heartless. Axel started in a group at 15 like everyone else, so did Maxx. When the ceremony was over we headed home and I scrubbed my hands off in my bathroom sink before splashing my face with water to hopefully and pointlessly wash away the memories. I leaned onto the sink and looked at myself in the mirror my fist clenched around the sink I felt my hands heat up and soon I set the sink on fire, it burned in blue flames, it looked like hell. I thought about her eyes and the blood, I found myself crying and soon banging my head on the mirror, but not hard enough to break it or hurt myself. Axel must have heard (did I mention he has super hearing?) because he ran in at super speed and pulled me away from the mirror.
Axel held me and I sobbed into his chest, he quickly held out his hand and in one quick motion he put his hand through the flames and turned on the faucet and he turned on the water and put out the fire but when he pulled his hands back they were burned which was weird because he’s the Phoenix. He is fire proof by nature. I was distracted as he rubbed my head and said everything would be okay.
“I hope I never have to do that again, I can’t do that again, I hope he doesn’t expect me to.” I said while pulling away and wiping my eyes.
“Don’t worry I won’t let him do that to you ever again.” He said.
“Thank you.” I said to him while running a shaky hand through my hair and giving him a quick hug, he tensed up.
“Well I should probably get to bed its late.” He said looking uncomfortable; I quickly pulled away from him.
“Yeah me too.” I mumbled.
“See ya in the morning.” He said before walking out the door.