“Alice, Maggie, through here!”
After training Alice had dragged me to her place, leaving the guys in the dust. She had said something about getting me a rocking hot outfit for the party that night.
“What’s wrong with what I normally wear?” I had responded as she weaved us in and out of the streets.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing. I just want an opportunity to dress you up.”
I decided to give up and just go with it, which is how I ended up following Alice into Elliot’s place wearing the tightest ripped jeans and shortest black crop top anyone had ever seen. As we made our way into the living room I fought the urge to pull the top down, and instead resorted to crossing my arms over my stomach.
The living room was crowded with mismatched furniture and sleeping bags had been strewn all over the place, along with a mountain of chocolate bars and bags of sweets. Music was thumping from a speaker over in the corner which made the party seem larger than it actually was. The boys had thrown themselves over the furniture and were trying to catch skittles with their mouths, and Elliot was waving madly at us to join them.
When we stepped into the room Tomas’ jaw dropped, “Maggie, what happened?”
My cheeks burned as I tried to wrap my long hair around myself, “Alice, can I put a jacket on now?”
“Ugh, fine,” Alice chucked me hers and I swear I couldn’t get it on fast enough.
Once I’d zipped myself up I sat down on a sleeping bag, “So what’ve we got planned for tonight?”
“We actually have no idea,” Elliot gave me a sheepish smile, “We have a few movies we could watch, a few games to play – video and board, I might add – food to eat…I know it’s not much of a party…”
“It’s great, guys, really,” I beamed, “I wasn’t expecting anything. It’s perfect, especially after yesterday.”
Luke caught my eye and I smiled to let him know that no harm was done. I was surprised when he actually smiled back.
“Well, before we get started on anything, Elliot?” Alice snapped her fingers in a comical fashion, “The presents!”
Elliot nodded and headed out a door. Moments later he returned with a small stack of presents and laid them out in front of me.
“This one last,” Alice exclaimed eagerly as she snatched a small box away from me, “It’s from me.”
The time it took to open the presents was rather awkward. Everyone was staring intently at me, waiting to see my reaction when I peeled back the wrapping.
From Elliot I got a sketchpad and a really nice set of pencils. It was a really thoughtful gift and I loved it, but I couldn’t help but sneak a glance at Alice. She was the artist of the group, not me, and I didn’t want to take that away from her. However, when I looked at her face it wasn’t envy or disgust I saw. It was happiness.
I unwrapped a big box from Luke, and inside were a bunch of gifts. There was some more fire resistant clothing, however this time they came in a variety of fashions. There was a box set of Avatar: The Last Airbender; I loved this show when I was a kid but I could see the humor in it now. I raised an eyebrow at Luke as if to say “Really?” and he grinned mischievously back. The last thing I pulled out was a chain with a shiny silver key dangling on the end.
“I hope you like motorbikes,” Luke announced.
I was eyeing the key quizzically. Was he saying that he got me a motorbike? That couldn’t be right, surely!
Before I knew it Alice was pulling me to my feet and dragging me out to the garage. There stood a motorbike. I will admit that it wasn’t in the best condition – little pieces were rusted all over it – but that didn’t matter.
“How did you…?” my voice trailed off as I turned to face Luke.
“I work at the junkyard. If the boss deems a set of wheels to be dead, you can guarantee that I can fix it up. And he lets me keep whatever I can fix, so…voila!”
“We would make you take it for a spin but it’s dark out so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow,” Tomas remarked as he clapped me on the back.
I was still stunned and didn’t know what to say. Eventually I mumbled a “thank you” before I was pushed back inside.
Back in the living room Alice was eagerly jumping around and shoved her gift under my nose. I pulled a face at her and caught the box as her shaking caused it to fall out of her hand. I undid the silky purple ribbon and pried open the lid. Inside was a small band made entirely of an orange stone. It sparkled in the light and it seemed to move as if fire was trapped inside. I slipped it onto my middle finger and it fit perfectly.
“It’s your ticket to the Entum,” Alice explained, “And so that you can be identified as a Flector among other Flectors. It, uhh, also has another purpose.”
Alice’s face took on an expression of wariness as she tried to explain, “Wearing this ring allows you to turn into your element,” but I had been through enough over the past week for it to faze me.
Elliot twisted his green and brown ring before standing up to demonstrate, “You need to imagine that you are your element.”
It was at this moment that I noticed everyone else’s rings. I didn’t know how I hadn’t noticed them before – they suddenly seemed to stand out because their colorings were so bright.
Slowly, starting from his feet, Elliot started turning into leaves, flowers and dirt. When he completely vanished the pile fell to the ground. Swiftly the earth picked up and floated to the other side of the room, where Elliot materialized.
“It’s quicker for us to travel this way, but for obvious reasons we can’t,” Luke explained, “That’s why I fix up the rides for ourselves.”
“Try it yourself,” Alice encouraged as she unwrapped a chocolate bar and accomplished the amazing feat of shoving the whole thing in her mouth.
I stood up tentatively and closed my eyes. I envisioned my feet slowly turning into flames.
“Wow, she’s doing it!” Tomas exclaimed.
My eyes snapped open and I looked down. My concentration broke and I saw the fire burn out.
“Don’t worry,” Tomas continued confidently, “You get faster and better at it the more you practice.”
I closed my eyes and tried again. I worked slowly and I could feel the warmth as it climbed up my body. When the heat covered my entire body I opened my eyes. I looked down to find myself floating, but instead of seeing legs and a stomach, I saw flames.
Everyone whooped and cheered as I navigated the room. I flew to the ceiling and freefell before catching myself. I flew over to the mirror to look at myself. I was a floating fireball. Not a single body part remained despite the fact that I could see, but I wasn’t panicking at the lack of bones. It seemed as natural as running. Backing up I felt myself trip and I landed on the sleeping bags, back to my human self. We couldn’t help but laugh.
Once we’d settled down, Tomas asked, “So, what should we do now?”
“Let’s watch Avatar!” Alice burst as she clambered over us.
She pulled out the disc and slid it into the player before flicking on the TV. We gathered round and huddled together as the intro played.
Water, earth, fire, air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony…