The Ritual of the Flames

It was a hard and gruff voice, so, a man's. He was tall – she could tell by the way his voice spread through the forest: like a ripple in an otherwise calm lake. He was taller than her mother. And she didn't know the man, neither did her mother. Yet they were next to each other. Her mother quite unwillingly, though. It was this man who separated her from her family. She was stuck in reality whereas her parents were, hopefully, in heaven. Together at last. Would the last of her kind be able to fight for her life and flourish in the epic battle in which her life was her prize? Or would she fall?


6. Chapter 6

Chapter Six



               Renn's bed sheets were drenched with sweat and she was screaming the loudest anyone had ever heard. Yet she was still unconscious. She was replaying every nightmare she had ever had, real or not real, in her mind. Flames surrounded her but were soon put out with the unmistakable hiss of water on fire.


               Five women waddled into the room. Two went to her right-hand side and three to her left. Four of the five gripped her arms and legs and pinned them to the sodden sheets whilst the final woman loaded a needle with a clear liquid. A sedative.


               "Hold her down, ladies. Hold her down for a patra oară since she's arrived; hopefully, it'll be the last." The woman with the needle pushed Renn's head so that it touched the pillow but kept her chin in the air, showing off Renn's neck.


               The women licked their lips and loosened their grips. Renn jolted awake, her eyes shooting open to reveal bloodshot, orange eyes. She shut her mouth, enabling her to stop screaming. The women were still standing around her. They had tightened their grips on Renn's limbs again.


               "Please," Renn croaked. "That hurts."


               The woman with the needle raised her hand. "Opri!"


               The others looked at her and, in unison, spoke, "Cum doriți."


               The women released Renn and left the room in single file. The needled woman stayed behind. "Please, iartā-mā, forgive me. I thought you were da foc la roof again."


               "Sorry?" Renn was confused. "When did I get here, exactly?"


               The woman pocketed the needle and walked away from Renn, completely ignoring her question. "I call Orav now, bine?"


               Renn nodded, confused as to what the woman had said, as half of it was in another language. She led back down momentarily before sitting upright again. She eyed her surroundings: as clean as a whistle. She was in a hospital; or at least, what seemed like a hospital. Renn eyed the vacant beds that surrounded her. There were seven empty beds and three occupied beds, including the one she was in.


               Opposite her sat a blonde-haired boy. The clipboard at the end of his bed revealed that his name was Morgan. The boy held a bowl of soup in his hands. He was awake but he didn't notice that Renn was staring straight at him: probably because his glasses were covered in the steam from his soup. Renn smiled because he looked silly.


               "I can still hear, you know." He said.


               That caught Renn off-guard. She blushed. "Yes, of course."


               "I can still see, as well. There is no need to blush." At this, Renn blushed even more. Morgan chuckled and lifted his arm so that he was able to wipe the steam from his glasses. His eyes were a sharp blue. "My name is Morgan."


               "And my name is Renn," The two smiled at each other until a noise broke the silence: Renn's stomach. "Where do you get the soup? I am starving."


               Morgan laughed. "You can have mine but, I will warn you, it is the most horrible thing you could possibly taste." Morgan flipped his covers to the side and got out of the bed. He had a prosthetic limb. He hobbled over and handed Renn the soup. "We are going to be best friends, I can tell."


               Renn laughed, too. "Thank you. And, I am sure it is better than a single piece of stale bread."


               Morgan sat himself on the end of Renn's bed and took off his leg. He had a stump where his knee was supposed to be.


〰 〰 〰


               They sat like that for a while, Morgan on the end of Renn's bed, sharing the soup. And Morgan's prosthetic limb leaning against the bedside table.


               "You have been out for quite a while." Morgan said after they had been talking for what seemed like hours on end but could not have been, because the soup was still warm. Morgan looked into Renn's orange eyes, his blue ones reflecting perfectly in the left.


               "Have I?" Renn asked raising an eyebrow. "How long is 'a while'?"


               Morgan lowered his head, he envied people who could raise an eyebrow. "Four days, give or take a few."


               "Four days?" Renn exclaimed. Her hand flew to her mouth to cover her open mouth.


               "Yes. Jamie brought you in while I was taking my final walking lesson."


               "Jamie? Brown-haired and... Earthy?" Renn smiled to herself.


               "Yes, that is him."


               "Has he been back?"


               "Renn, he was not allowed to come back in and visit. You set the place on fire four times."


               "I set the place on fire four times?" Renn's tone was concerned. "How could I have set the place on fire four times?"


               "You have the power to do that, Renn. Each time you set the place on fire I had to put it out. Not that I mind, obviously." Morgan lifted his legs onto the bed and shuffled so that he was next to Renn.


               "You? You had to put it out?" Renn looked to her right, where Morgan had placed himself.


               "Yes. Watch," Morgan cupped his hands a placed them in front of him. "Pour your glass of water in my hands."


               Renn nodded and did as she was told. "Here you go." She poured her water into Morgan’s hands and watched.


               Morgan concentrated fully on his hands, and the water he was holding in them. He shut his left eye so that he could see the water properly. Renn watched his face: his lips were twitching and, as they were, the water rippled slightly. Morgan opened his eye, meaning that both eyes were open, and stared straight into the middle of the small ripples. He brought his hands away from each other and Renn waited for the water to fall onto his lap. It did not happen. Morgan had his hands by his side and a little ball of water was floating in front of him. Morgan brought his hands in front of him again and linked them so that his fingers on the opposite hand fitted into the nook of the other. He broke the link slowly but kept his hands slightly curled. As he brought his hands and arms apart, the ball of water grew a little until Morgan had extended his arms so much so that they would not stretch any further, even if he wanted them to. What was once a small bubble of water was now a giant bubble of water. Morgan did not break eye contact throughout his performance.


               "That is amazing!" Renn exclaimed after watching him break the laws of physics.


               Morgan's face whipped round to face Renn and the giant amount of water came crashing down on him. His blonde hair drenched in less than a second and covering his eyes in less than two. Renn only got a part of the splash.


               "You knew that was going to happen!" Morgan accused.


               "I did not." Renn defended herself.


               "You did too!" Morgan pushed his hair back from his eyes and took off his glasses so he could wipe them.


               "I swear, I did not." Renn argued.


               "Just you wait, Renn, as soon as I get my leg on, I am coming after you. You have a head start so get to it." Morgan turned so he could get his leg on.


               "Wait, what?" Renn flipped the covers back and stood up.


               "I am going to get you back so get ready for a shower. You smell horrible."


               "Sorry? I am the one that smells? You are the one that gave yourself a shower."


               "Which means that I do not smell anymore. Your turn."


               "I do not think so," Renn said. "You will have to catch me to shower me."


               "Start running, then. I might only have one leg but I sure as hell am a fast runner."


               "You cursed!"


               "I did. And, I am sure you have as well. Now, run."


               Renn giggled and headed for the door. She knew that they were going to be best friends, too.


〰 〰 〰


              Left, right, right, left, right, left, left, left, right. That is where Renn had found a cupboard to hide from Morgan in. She sat and assumed the same position she had taken when her mother had been deprived of her right to live. Renn smiled because, despite Hazel and her mother's death, she was happy that she had found someone that could make her smile. Renn nearly laughed out loud but stopped herself when she heard the uneven, limping footsteps of her new friend.


               "You cannot hide forever in that tiny cupboard, Renn." Morgan jeered.


               "No, but I can try." Renn whispered to herself.


               "Oh, Renn. You need to learn how to whisper." Morgan turned toward the door of the cupboard where Renn was hiding.


               "I know." Renn said aloud. She burst through the door and started running down the carpeted hallway.


               "Oh no you do not!" Morgan ran after her, getting a ball of water ready.


               Renn turned on her heel while running to face Morgan. "Catch me if you can!" She proceeded to stick out her tongue and turn away from him so that she could carry on running.


               "I will catch you, Renn!" Morgan shouted after her. He picked up his pace in pursuit.


               "I do not think you will." Renn shouted just before she tripped and fell flat on her face, giving herself carpet burn on her bare skin.


               Morgan came flying down the hall but slowed his pace when he saw Renn on the floor. "Are you okay?"


               "I think so." Renn turned to face him.


               "That is a relief because, for a moment, I thought I was going to have to postpone your shower." Morgan smirked and brought the ball of water down on top of Renn.


               "No!" Renn cowered under her left arm and pushed her right arm into the air, to stop some of the water hitting her. Flames erupted from her palm and there was a loud hiss from where Morgan's power came into contact with Renn's.

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