A Diamond in the Rough


I have to get out of here. If I don't, I'll start to go crazy. I'll do whatever it takes. I've been lied to before, and it hurt. It hurt so bad. But now, maybe it's my turn to lie. You do what you have to right?


I'm lonely. I haven't been forever, but lately I am. My dad always showed me these lame magic tricks. Now I know they weren't real, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe magic controls everything we do. Maybe it controls everyone we meet. Why we meet them, how we meet them, how they act towards you. Now is no time to get upset about it. My dad always said magic is a way we show our emotions in an unexplainable way. He has never been so right.

Expression: a diamond in the rough
Meaning: someone who has great qualities, despite a hidden/rough exterior; someone obtaining great potential and heart


1. Chapter 1


I think I have a disorder. Every time I ask my dad about doing something even closely related to freedom and he rejects me, my eyes automatically roll. I can't seem to stop it. Sometimes I don't even realize when I do it. I guess it's become such a routine thing for me. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my dad and have all the respect in the world for him but... I guess you could say I just don't understand his ways.

I've been homeschooled for as long as I remember, only going to another school with actual people for preschool. My dad has yet to give me a legitimate reason for this but I know he never will, so I try to piece it together as best as I can.

He always claims that people could come after me because the history of my life isn't really kept within our family. Nothing is. My dad is one of the top business men in Chicago, and not to mention one of the wealthiest.

We live in a small little town right outside of Chicago called Old Town. My dad thought living out of the city would keep us safe from "criminals" and "thugs" and so on and so forth. But there can be crime anywhere.

Crime hasn't ever happened in Old Town, for as long as we've lived here, but there are some pretty strange people. There are three elementary, two middle, and one high school. The only high schooler I know is Tyler, and we're both seniors.

Personally a weird name if you ask me. We're eighteen, not sixty five.

My normal teacher was having a hard time teaching me the math we had to do, so my dad hired a kid who was doing it every day, was at the same level as I and had the perfect grade in it. When Tyler and I first met, everything went well. We got all the work done quickly and I actually understood, he was a great teacher.

But then out of nowhere he started acting weird. He immediately complimented me whenever he saw me, he'd help me up from everywhere I sat, if I wanted to get a drink or food he'd get it for me, if I dropped a speck of dust he'd even pick it up for me.

My home school teacher, Katie, is fairly young, only twenty six. She claimed that Tyler had a crush on me. No one had ever liked me before, mainly because I never had the chance to get close to someone. Tyler was a good guy, he was really smart, he was funny, and he treated me like, I don't know, like I was special.

So we went out, the only dates we were allowed to go on were to the movies at the next town over because it was dark and no one would see me. He would grab my hand, and put his arm around my shoulder. He would see me when my constant battles with myself would make me cry. I'd be in a state of almost craziness from having no freedom. He was like my hero.

But of course I spoke too soon. He came over one day about four months ago so we could do our homework, and he was talking to my dad in the kitchen. I slowed my walking and hid behind the wall.

"You're doing great. Just keep it up for a few more weeks, and you'll have the full payment." My dad said.

I assumed he was just talking about Tyler's money for being my math teacher, but of course I spoke too soon. Again.

"Alex, is a great girl Mr. Brown, she makes pretending to be her boyfriend as easy as it could possibly be."

I felt heartbreak for the first time that day. I wasn't in love with Tyler, far from it, but he was the only other person I had. I trusted him, I felt safe with him, I cared about him, I liked him. I really liked him. I didn't say anything after that. I went back upstairs and quietly shut the door. I fell back on my bed, and I swear I stared at the ceiling for the next four hours, pondering if this is what the rest of my life would be like, people coming to me, pretending to like me, just for my dad's money.

Once my dad finally got me to talk to him, (more like him talk and I zone out everything he says) he told himself that I believed him, that the world wasn't a safe place for me. The last thing he told me that night was "Who you are will cause nothing but danger for you. I don't want you to go through that." But the very fact that he put me in this so called "danger" himself, just made me want to be dangerous even more.


I hopped off my motorcycle, and swung my backpack over my shoulder. Being a tutor never really seemed like my thing. But it was the only option I had. I needed those community service hours to go on my college application, and given my personal and financial background, I could use all the help I could get. I swung the doors to the elementary school open and headed for the library, remembering exactly where it was. How could I forget?

Up until eighth grade, my life was perfect. No, that's an exaggeration, my life was normal. My mom and dad had gotten officially married when I was in fifth grade, after being together for ten years, and never having the money for a wedding. In the least, my parent's wedding was the best day of my life. But less than three years later, I was attending their funeral.

I pushed open the library doors and walked over to the front desk. The clerk working there looked exactly like the one who worked here when I went to this school almost seven years ago. It was almost as if she never left that chair.

"Zach Phillips, here for tutoring." I said getting her attention.

She looked up at me and nodded, "Table 10 in the corner, Connor should be here." She handed me a textbook and pointed to the table.

I turned around and looked for my table. Each table had colored cards with the number listed on it. Table nine was in the back and was right outside of the last row of books. I walked back, looking for the table and saw it was in the back corner surrounded by shelves of books. I walked closer and saw a spot of blonde hair on the table. He noticed me before I fully noticed him.

"You're here." Connor looked up at me.

His blonde hair looked almost bleached and it only made his dark brown eyes pop out even more. He was bending over a book that looked like it was older than the library clerk, who seemed immortal.

"I'm here. I'm Zach." I set my backpack down on the table and sat down across from him.

"Zach," he said the name like he was trying a new flavor of ice cream for the first time, "That was gonna be my name. But then my mom said it sounded like a rebel name. Are you a rebel?" he whispered the last part.

"Nah, I'm not cool enough to be a rebel." I smiled.

"I like your name. I wish my name was Zach, Connor is a nerdy name and I'm not a nerd I swear. I don't know what my mom was thinking." He sighed.

This kid looked no older than maybe ten and he was talking like he was fourteen. He had two pieces of folded paper next to his book, he picked one up and shut it into his ancient looking book.

"Maybe she really liked the name Connor. Moms can be weird." I used to think my mom was the weirdest person because she wasn't like all of my old friends mom's.

My mom had me when she was eighteen, she always made it sound like her and my dad, who was her boyfriend at the time, were expecting me, but she was a terrible liar. At least she didn't lie about how happy she turned out to be.

"Yeah I guess. My mom thinks I'm the greatest ten year old in the world. I don't really think so, but she's weird like you said. Is your mom weird?" he asked pulling out a math book, pencil, and a paper.

I didn't know what to say. I met just the kid and I'm tutoring him for the next six weeks, I don't wanna start off our relationship with my sob story.

"She was pretty weird. But it was a good weird. If your mom isn't weird then she doesn't care. So your mom cared and so did mine." I thought that was pretty believable.

"Yeah. You're really smart." Connor smiled up at me.

Yes, he bought it. I didn't think he needed to know the truth, he was only ten.

We worked on his math homework for about another hour and a half and then I decided to ask him about this ancient book of his that kept taunting me.

"My uncle gave it to me. He travels around the world and takes notes. He helps write all those boring social studies books. He got this one from India." He handed the dusty book to me as he packed his backpack.

I stared at the cover and just holding it sent a shiver through my body. "What's it about?" I asked him.

"It's like a bunch of folk tales and magic from a village my uncle went to. My uncle told me that whoever studies the book can get magical abilities and can do things other people can't. If I study long enough, I'll have the magic and I'll really be the greatest ten year old in the world, just like mom said." He smiled proudly grabbing the book from me.

"You believe all that?" I sat back in my chair and smiled, this kid had a real positive attitude. It's a shame that everything he believes in from that book isn't real.

"Of course. You don't believe me?" he questioned me with wide eyes.

"Well... I mean..." I diverted my eyes from his stare, not being able to handle it anymore.

"It's ok, I wouldn't believe me either, but I have proof." He turned around and started digging in his backpack again.

"Oh do you now?" I sat forward and rested my elbows on my knees.

"Yeah, I just followed the rules in the book and it worked." He came closer to me and slipped something over his head and tucked it under his shirt.

"Wait, what's that?" I squinted my eyes.

"Well, that's the first part of it, but I was gonna show you. Show you real magic, you won't believe it!" he smiled.

"I'm sure I won't," I muttered, "But show me the first part. It seems like something that's guaranteed to work." I pointed to it.

He nodded in agreement and pulled the black string out of his shirt. Attached to the bottom was what looked like a stone.

"May I?" I asked wanting to touch it. He nodded.

It was a perfectly circle stone about as big as a quarter and as thick as a medal. It was golden yellow, with swirls of dark red and vivid orange.

"Reminds me of the sun." I said rubbing my fingers over it.

"It's the Sun god's stone. If you follow the rules right, then he grants you the power." He whispered.

"Power of what?" I whispered back.

"Your true sun power." His dark brown eyes started to shine like the stone, and I felt the same shiver I got from holding the book run down my spine.

Something weird was happening. Something I don't think I would ever be ready for.

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