“Hi sweetie, you’re home late,” Mom said when I walked through the door later that afternoon.
“Yeah, detention,” I rolled my eyes.
She faked astonishment, “Oh dear! My Maggie got a detention and she’s barely been at school for a week! My my, the teachers are sure going to have trouble with you in their classes.”
I laughed at her theatrics. I was lucky. Mom didn’t really care about things like detention as long as our grades weren’t slipping. She was relaxed about pretty much everything.
“What did you get detention for?” she looked at me curiously.
“Talking in class. And we weren’t doing anything anyway!”
“Tut tut, Miss Adams,” Mom mocked a stern voice, “You should know by now that talking in class is a big no-no.”
I pulled a face and headed upstairs to start whatever homework I had. Opening my math book, I touched my pen to the paper and began to problem solve.
Detention had been fun. It was nonsense really. We just sat around and talked, flew paper planes whenever one came our way and generally just acted like goofballs. Tomas was his usual cheerful self acting like a nutter; Alice had been quirky and silly. Elliot had been shy but hilarious, but Luke…Man that guy looked sullen.
It wasn’t even a bad detention and he grumbled the whole time. We could do what we liked and he chose to remain miserable. It was weird.
I sighed as I finished up the last question and closed my book. I looked down at my palms. Three more sleeps.
The next day I was walking up to my house after another pointless day of school when I heard a thud. There was a clatter and banging coming from the back garden so I went to investigate. Elliot was there, tangled in an assortment of wires.
“Oh thank God you’re here,” he sounded distressed.
“What on Earth are you doing?” I asked as I untied atrocious knots in the wire and set Elliot free.
He chuckled at the reference, “Wiring up the cavern so we can have some light. I had study last so I thought I’d hurry up and get it done.”
“Amazing,” I’d stopped listening to him and made my way under the house. Following the wires, I came to the hatch and looked below.
“Nothing’s been hooked up yet,” Elliot said from behind me, “It shouldn’t take long. I’m using solar panels so your mum doesn’t notice the electricity bill.”
“Smart thinking,” I spoke absentmindedly as I picked up the torch and led myself down the flight of stairs.
Looking up I could see the bulbs that had been fixed into the rock. Wires ran between the bulbs and were set into the roof by staples so they weren’t hanging in our faces. Above me I could hear Elliot shuffling stuff around, trying to finish the job.
I made my way into the cavern and saw light bulbs lining the walls and roof. The wires started from the bottom of the stairs and reached their long fingers out so they woven and intertwined across the rock. The pattern was simple. It had to be if Elliot wanted access to earth without disrupting the lighting.
Suddenly his voice reached down to me, “Are you ready, Maggie?”
I made my way over to the foot of the stairs. At the top there was a faint white glow. Then one by one the bulbs lit up, illuminating the stairway first, and then the cave. I shut my eyes at the sudden brightness, and then blinked as my eyes adjusted. The place looked incredible. The pool shimmered and the waterfall glistened. The boulders lining the walls seemed delicately placed. Of course, however, there were boulders strewn across the floor from Saturday’s incident.
“Wow,” I hadn’t heard Elliot come down the stairs, and I jumped when I heard him speak.
Placing a hand to my heart, I accused him, “You could give a girl some warning you know.”
He pulled a face before walking around to examine the place some more.
“I’m going to go call the others,” I rushed up the stairs to get better reception.
“The lights are working, the lights are working, the lights are working!” I practically screamed when Alice picked up the phone, “And the place looks incredible!”
“See you in five,” Alice hung up the phone.
“Dude you have to get your ass to Maggie’s,” Elliot spoke from behind me.
I turned around to find him with a phone to his ear and a wide smile on his face.
When he hung up the phone I said, “You’ve done an amazing job.”
He smiled self-consciously, “Thanks.”
Within fifteen minutes we were all gathered in the cavern, with everyone admiring Elliot’s work.
“It’s pretty good,” Luke fist bumped Elliot.
“I thought it would be a good idea to get them working before Maggie turned. Ya know, just in case she can’t control her abilities.”
I may not have fully believed that I was a Flector, but I was offended by this comment, “Why wouldn’t I be able to control my powers?” I crossed my arms and looked sternly and everyone.
“Easy, Maggie,” Luke put out his arms telling me to back off.
“Most Flector newborns can’t control their powers for the first couple of hours,” Alice wisely jumped in to save the conversation, “After that you gain a fair idea of what your powers are capable of, however it takes proper training and constant use of your powers to gain full control over them.”
I relaxed a little. I understood. They couldn’t risk giving me the benefit of the doubt, and fire is pretty noticeable. Although I still didn’t believe it, if what they said was true then I needed to stay out of sight.
“Two more sleeps,” Tomas brought my attention to him, “How are you feeling?”
“I don’t really know,” I replied, “It still seems surreal.”
Alice smiled, “That’s how I felt when I was told everything.”
I smiled ruefully, “It just feels…different, you know? You spend seventeen years of your life believing you’re one thing, and then in the blink of an eye you’re suddenly something else.”
Luke suddenly bore his eyes into me and the air became thick.
“You don’t believe us, do you?” Luke had an accusing tone in his voice, “You think we’re wrong about you, don’t you?”
“I-I’m sorry,” I stammered, suddenly sweating, “But I don’t have any Flectors in my family. I don’t know how I could be one.”
Tomas looked disappointed.
“I’m sorry I don’t believe you. I mean, I believe in Flectors. You’re standing right here! But do I believe in myself?” I paused for a bit before I finally said it, “No.”
Alice looked hurt; Luke looked devastated. Elliot just looked sad.
Luke’s face changed to one of bitterness when he pushed past me, “Two more sleeps, Adams. Don’t forget.”
He made his way upstairs and everyone else trailed after him. Two more sleeps.
Wednesday had been pretty uneventful. In class I was ignored, at lunch I was disregarded and walking home had been a bore. No one wanted to talk to me, even when I tried. I couldn’t understand why this was happening. Surely they should be able to understand what I was going through? If you’d been human your whole life and suddenly you were told that soon you would gain elemental powers, would you believe it? I didn’t think so.
Lying in bed that night, I started thinking. What would happen if I really did become a Flector tomorrow? No one was talking to me. What if I needed help? It was supposed to be painful. Alice went through it alone, but then, no one knew what she was. The gang at least knows about me. They wouldn’t leave me, would they? This was ridiculous. How could I be a Flector?
At eleven that night I received a text from Alice:
You are expected to find a way to take the day off school tomorrow. You are to make your way down to the cave by 10 tomorrow morning. Good luck, Maggie.
Her text made me breathe a sigh of relief. Even if I didn’t entirely believe it was going to happen, at least I wasn’t forgotten about – just in case it does happen.
Looking at my palms, I saw where in just over twelve hours they would be alight with fire. I kicked myself, because what if it was possible? Then I chastised myself, because it seemed so absurd.
But no matter how hard I tried, by midnight I somehow couldn’t shake the feeling that something was about to change.
One last sleep.