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Rated: E · Novel · Young Adult · #1880523
A group of teens can control one of the four elements. Takes place in Victorian England
‘Turn back, head home while you can.’

The words hung heavily in the cool night air as if the wind had whispered the words to her itself. The voice of reason echoed in the back of Avery Malone’s mind as she walked the frozen streets, her teeth chattering as she tried to ignore the words. Pushing forward Avery bent her head against the winter wind blowing into her face and chilling her to the bone as if it were to trying to push her back home.

‘You’ll die before you even reach the shores, frozen in the just road like the others.’

Against her better judgment Avery let her gaze wander to the side of the street, she taking in a sharp breath at the sight of the bodies that lined them, it being impossible to tell which ones were dead and those that were sleeping. They all looked the same; skin pulled tight against the bones with a hint of blue from the cold, eyes sunken in and the stench of death was everywhere.

Day by day more were dying, Ireland being a place where the dead truly did roam the streets. Since the Great Famine, it seemed like things could not get any worse in Ireland but with the decrease in population and lack of work it still felt like the Famine was there, lingering about knowing there was little chance of survival if you stayed. It feed off the life of people, the hope some had when the Famine started fourteen years ago but not it only fed off misery, consuming anything and everything within its path. She was only two when the famine had started, it being a miracle that she had survived it but growing up with it Avery knew how to survive and now she planned to escape it as once again it touched her family.

With everything going on it only seemed wise to run away, to give her family one less mouth to feed and one less loved one to watch die; she already watching her father perish to the Famine and two of her siblings die of disease. There had been rumors about how Dublin was untouched, that they were prospering and growing while everything else wilted and died around it. That was where she planned to go, to start her new life and if she was lucky enough get a job and move her family to her.

Slowly Avery’s steps came to a stop, heavier footsteps reaching her ears and echoing in the darkness. Quickening her pace Avery pulled up her tattered dress as she began to run, her heart pounding against her ribs as she rounded the corner. She remembered the stories older men talked about under hushed tones of what happened to women who dared to walk the streets alone at night, of the men who lurked the streets hunting for their next victim in the moonlight.

Red hair falling down around her shoulders Avery ran faster, her ankle giving away when her foot landed in a hole, trapping her and sending her crashing to the ground with a cry. Sucking in a breath Avery pulled herself up, the footsteps right behind her and slowly as they came closer, they were after her, she was sure of it now.

“Have you gone completely mental,” a voice hissed as her arm was grabbed.

Turning around Avery let out the breath she had been holding, her silver eyes bouncing off the moonlight as relief filled her. “Keegan,” she breathed out, her body lurching forward as she wrapped her arms around him. “You almost gave me a fright, chasing me around like that.”

He didn’t say anything for a long time just stared at her for a long time. “You’re really leaving aren’t you?”

“What, Keegan no, I could never leave you.” Her hand stretched out, cupping around his face gently.

“Then why the note?”

Body going ridged Avery let her hand fall heavily to her side, her eyes dropping with it. “I have to Keegan. I can’t die here, not like this.”

“And we should die here like this, me, mum and the others?”

She felt her heart drop instantly at his harsh tone. “That’s not what I mean.”

“Oh, you meant being frozen in the street sounds better or being murdered or sold? That must be much grander then dying with your family.” He let out a long sigh, his breath forming a cloud between them. “Come home, Ave.”

Her head shook, red hair flailing about. “I can’t, I’m sorry. Da' said I have a chance of making it, if I could just get out of this hell I could make some money, send it to you and mum. Maybe you can even live in Dublin with-“

“Dublin?” Keegan let out a barking laugh as he rolled his eyes. “You’re trading one hell for another. That’s a myth, Dublin is as bad off as we are, and maybe worse since everyone went there. You’ll die faster there then you would here. Now let’s get you home before mum wakes up shall we,”

Stepping backwards Avery folded her arms across her chest, determination filling her. He didn’t understand why she had to leave, the desire to live being greater than the one dying with loved ones around her. “I’m so sorry Keegan. Let mum know that I love her.”

“No, I'm not letting you leave.” Reaching forward Keegan grabbed her by the arm, pulling her forward but he never moved beyond that, his feet planted firmly on the ground. “We’re being watched,” he growled, green eyes scanning the darkness around them. “We have to go, now.”

Glancing behind her Avery tried to find what or whom Keegan had seen, she moving closer to him. The wind kicked up, freezing her to the bone and slowly she pulled in closer to her older brother. He had followed her, maybe it would be best if she returned home she would be lost without him otherwise. “What do you see?”

“Yes, what is it exactly you two are looking at, all I can see is death.”

At the sound of the new voice Avery jumped as Keegan pulled her tightly to him as they both turned around.

He stood on top of a rock looking down at the in pure amusement. He looked not much older than Avery, his black hair blowing back against the wind and in the light of the moon Avery noted that he was rather handsome without the crazed look about him. Lifting his face to the sky the boy took in a deep breath before cringing slightly. “Can smell it as well, not pleasant.”

“Who are you,” Keegan demanded.

“The smell is on you too,” the boy said to Keegan with an English accent choosing to ignore his question. His eyes turned towards Avery, eyes glowing off the light of the moon and making them look like they were on fire. “But it isn’t on you.”

Keegan let out a rude noise, he stepping back as the boy jumped down on the hill above them and stared down at them with a smile. “What do you want?”

Avery watched the boy, her fingers curling into her brothers shirt as a smile filled his face, one that sent chills running through her. “Keegan, can we please just leave?” She could hear her own voice in her mind but when nothing happened she wondered if she had really spoken.

“It is her that I want,” the boy replied all smiles.

Sucking in a sharp breath Avery felt her mouth drop, “I beg your pardon!”

The boy’s gaze flickered towards her for a moment before back to Keegan. “How much for her? I figure for the night should be ‘round two silver.” His eyebrows lifted in amusement, "I enjoy redheads."

Looking between the boy and her brother Avery stared in horror as her brother said nothing. Was he actually thinking of selling her to some stranger? “Keegan,” Avery hissed, digging her nails into his arm. “I’m not for sale.”

“You appear to be,” the boy replied swiftly. “Not that you saying you’re not means anything, it’s your master’s decision.”

“He is not my master,” the red headed girl snapped, she taking a dangerous step towards the boy. "He is my brother."

Shaking his head the boy let out a low chuckle, "is that how things are run here, rather strange that a brother would be selling his own sister." He clucked his tongue in disapproval, "things like that would never happen in England."

"England isn't in the middle of a famine." Keegan replied softly. Taking a step forward he slipped from Avery's grasp, the boy on the rock not moving in response, he just stood watching him carefully. "How much would you be willing to pay?"

There was a flicker of surprise on the boy's face, he looking just as shocked as Avery did but he masked over it quickly and scratched his jaw. "What do you want for her?" Crouching down the boy grinned wickedly, his back hunching over and giving him the appearance of a gargoyle.

Keegan was silent for a moment giving Avery enough time to back up slowly but not quickly enough. Within the first few steps she drew the attention of the strange boy, his eyes flickering up and glowing against the moon as they landed on her. Staring into them Avery's own eyes widened, there looking to be a fire behind his eyes, flames dancing around his pupils.

"It's a trick of the light, it has to be." She thought to herself as she backed away more quickly.

He watched her for a moment, speaking to Keegan mindlessly as they bantered about prices and once it seemed he was satisfied with her distance he glared at her disapprovingly. "I believe the object is escaping," he said after a long moment.

At his words Keegan turned around just as Avery took off run, her bare feet stinging as they hit the ground. Turning sharply Avery let out a small cry of frustration as she hit a dead end, her feet backing her up against her wishes. She wanted to hide, escape from both men.

Was this some sort of punishment from Keegan for planning to run away, or was he that heartless as to sell her?

"You really ought to hide love."

Whirling around Avery's body stiffened at the sight of the boy. She backed away unsteadily, her eyes landing on his hands as they began to glow blue

"They are coming for you."

She felt her stomach churn at his words, her eyes never leaving his hands. "They, who are they?"

With a playful smirk his hands ignited, flames licking at his skin but he did not once scream out in pain- if anything he seemed to enjoy it- and it sent Avery stumbling backwards with a yelp. "Take my advice and hide, they've already found your brother." And with that he arched his hands back, throwing the fire into the night sky as he laughed manically and he was suddenly gone
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