Flying is a strange ability where she comes from. Saren Liphic is ridiculed in society.
I watched a wild cal gallop through the underbrush. Its muscles were flexing and its beautiful hair was slicked back against its figure. Cal’s are larger creatures but entirely harmless. They have four short legs and a plump, hair-covered body. Their heads are small with large eyes that are almost completely covered by hair. I watched it stop and take a bite out of a tree, bark and all. The fallen trees caused by their diet tends to upset certain people. The first few slivers usually convince the creatures to keep their distance from the Resides.
I had only a little ways to go before I arrived at the Reside where my family lived. I let out a sigh. The only thing waiting for me at Tropping (the name of my Reside) was the never-ending attention. Having Abilities is not unusual. Most that have them, though, can simply move small objects with their minds or they possess a large amount of strength. I was special. The fact that I could fly was almost unheard of. My powers either found me love or painted a target on my back. My parents did their best to keep me away from the spotlight but it was useless.
I began to spot Tropping in the distance. It was nestled in the heart of the forest, as were most of the nearby Resides. They were all kept separate after the Fire Wars; an event which threatened to take out the entire forested area of Archyia. While the Resides are very much disassociated, we all live in a land known as Archyia. I personally have yet to leave its borders, which stretch out far past the tree line. I could never complete the trek and make it back in time.
The wooden cluster of buildings I knew to be Tropping was now directly below me. I bent my legs upward and dropped my shoulders. The descent was quick and well practised. I have had my Ability for four lengths now. They usually appear at around twelve lengths old.
It wasn’t long before I was within three legs of the ground. I lifted myself upright and hit the dirt road that ran along Mainstreet running. Using the Grub Shop to stop my momentum, I came to a halt. Letting out a breath, I gazed through the show window at the lean slices of cal on display inside. It was a shame to have to kill such peaceful creatures. Dozens of blarc thighs lay neatly on a smoothly sanded shelf directly behind the cal meat. Blarcs were vicious creatures and a trophy to hold as a hunter. I had never actually tasted one.
Something was tickling the back of my neck and I swatted at it with my hand. It was probably a sucker or something. My hand found nothing and the feeling soon returned. I turned around to see Den, my best friend, hovering a leaf with his outstretched hand. Den was small, fast and the most loyal companion you’ll ever have. Every so often, he moved it forward at my neck.
“Good flight?” he asked casually. He grinned every time I waved my hand at the leaf.
“It’s nice to get out.” I kicked the dirt off my boots on the Grub Shop wall.
The leaf fluttered slowly to the ground and Den watched it the whole time. I immediately wished I hadn’t said what I did.
“I bet it is,” he said solemnly. He did his best to shrug it off and put on a smile.
“Your parents ’ll be waiting for you to get home,” he mentioned, cutting me off mid-apology.
“Yah,” I replied slowly. I began to walk away down Mainstreet when I turned back to face him. “Come over for final grub. You know you’re welcome at my place.”
Den paused for a brief moment. “Sorry, Saren,” he looked down the street as if waiting for someone, “but my folks, well, you know they ain’t much supportive about our friendship. All that flack about the flying girl went straight to their heads.”
I nodded, understanding perfectly. It was the same for most people. I mentioned that my ability either found me love or hatred. The scale was definitely tipped in the direction of the latter. I studied the dirt and eventually looked down into Den's green eyes. I was half a leg taller than him and he didn't enjoy it being brought up. “It’s not so great being me, let alone being friends with me,” I said.
“Hey, it’s not like you can help it. It’s just who you are,” Den said consolingly, “and if I was you, I wouldn’t listen to people like my parents. They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
A smile crept across my lips. “Thanks, Den. I should get going.”
“I guess I should, too,” he said, once again scanning past me and down the street. “See ya later.”
We went our separate ways and as soon as Den was out of my sight, I sent the contents of a trash barrel flying out across the side street I was now on. Why did I have to be the flying girl? Our Abilities were supposed to be our pride. While I loved the wind in my face and the solitude of the air, it came at a high cost. I was still unsure of which I valued more: having my Ability or having a normal life. Although, it isn't like I have a choice.
A shop owner appeared at their door and threw a freshly chewed citron core at me. I ducked and pushed the trash back into the barrel with my foot. I tried to compose myself and ignored the angry words being thrown in my direction. It wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to but it still annoyed me, as it would anybody. The dirt path that would wind through a small grove of trees and then to my front steps stood in front of me. My family’s house rested on the outskirts of Tropping and was peaceful and secluded. After five minutes of my leather boots striding across the dirt, my front door was before me. I tried the doorknob only to realise it was locked. My mother and father must still be at work. My mother was the Reside Medic and my father the Chief Experimentor. They have respected jobs and I just hoped that never changed because of who their daughter was.
Sliding my hand into my gull-skin jacket, I retrieved a metal key. It had no key ring attached to it since it was the only key in my possession. It was nearly covered by the inside of the lock when my ears erupted with a sudden blast of sound and I slammed full-force into the wooden door. Falling back onto the steps, my head throbbed and my ears rang like the constant chirping of a soarur. Through black splotches covering my vision, I could see red and orange flickering lights. Fire.
I attempted to roll over onto my side but my brain threatened to fall right out. At least that’s what it felt like. The flames covered my front lawn and were licking at the frame of the house. I grunted and let my head fall back to the stone steps.
All of a sudden, a shadow materialized out of the burning surroundings. I could only see that it was big. As it grew closer, I realized that it belonged to a human. He looked no older than me and as my vision began to return, I could pick out certain details. He had long brown hair and a cloth tunic tied at the waist with a leather belt. I thought he was here to help me and I opened my mouth to call out. Then I saw the ball of fire clutched in his open palm.