A short story about a young girl learning to control her powers and gain inner confidence
| He tossed a coconut into my hands, holes already cut into it so I can drink. The coconut water is cold and smooth, like the water I am kicking in. Palm trees sway in the gentle ocean breeze. I lay back on the warm sand and glimpse at the sky. Clear blue, not a single cloud in sight. This is the life; nothing can beat this. Suddenly a shadow figure cast its darkness over me, blocking out the beautiful sun.
“Bro, can you move? You are blocking everything!," I shoot him a pout.
“It's time to go Kal, dad is waiting”. He reaches his hand out to me, but I slap it away. “Hmm, if that’s how you want to play it."
“Wait, what are you doing—”, my words are cut short a gasp, as big bro picks me up and swings me over his shoulder. It isn’t fair, I'm tiny and built like a twig while Akamu is like three times my size. I kick and flail, but there’s no way I'm getting out of this iron grasp. “Ugh! Come on! You suck you know that? Just let me chill!” He starts walking towards our house at the top of the hill.
“Your idea of “chilling” is just pure laziness." I am still flailing about, hoping he somehow loses his grip. “I wish you would take your training more seriously."
“This is me we are talking about. I never take anything seriously.”
“Yep, one of your many bad traits," he chuckles.
“HEY! Low blow!” Big bro tightens his grip, and it feels like he is going to snap my spine.
After walking up the steep hill, we finally reach our house. Akamu carried me like a ragdoll the entire way. Any pride I had beforehand has been blown away like leaf in a tropical breeze. Akamu finally puts me down, and I stare at him wishing I could punch him straight in the stomach. I would try it but it ends the same way every time; with him blocking it and putting me in a headlock. We step forward toward the massive three-story wooden cabin. The sunlight bounced off the glass windows overlooking the ocean. Right, there is my favorite spot to sit in and chill, it has a perfect view. Or to Akamu apparently, it's more like “laziness”. Not everyone can be an active freak like him and practically live in the training area behind our house.
I walk under the shaded roof and before entering, my eyes meet the wood carved designs on the walls. I have no idea of what they mean though, one day I should probably ask dad. But for now, we have to find him since its time for our daily training. Day in and day out, I have to train in order to be ready if I so need to lead this island as its High Chief. Yep, that’s right, I'm the daughter of the High Chief of our entire island; Mana’olana Nui. Pretty cool right? To me it’s kind of a burden to be honest. Although my brother is next in line to lead our island, i still need to be ready to assist him. For most I feel like it would be stressful, however we just take it day by day. I can’t help but feel like I’m not going to meet those expectations though. A strong-willed chief just does not suit me.
Stepping through the beads hanging down, I follow Akamu through our home as his sandals slap against the wooden floors. The smell of meat fills the air, and the scent carries me to the kitchen. An entire hunk of meat sits over a skewer on the counter, cooking ever so slowly. The meat is shining with its juicy tenderness. My stomach growls, and I go to pick off a piece of the temptation that lies before me. Nobody will notice a tiny piece missing right?
“If you do that, I’ll be sure to make your father go even harder on you today, Kal a voice disrupts my evil plans.
“Ah! Foiled again!” I leap backwards and I lean over the counter.
“So, uh mom. Lovely weather we having right? It's so nice it makes you want to forget everything and just take it all in."
Mom crosses her arms, and pierces me with her gaze.
“You aren’t fooling me, now hurry along. You don’t want to keep your father waiting”. Her red hair bounces as she walks past to check on the meat. “You can have some as a reward after your training. Now go and make Pele proud," she smiles and begins washing a large cutting knife.
“Ugh, fine I guess I’ll go. I pick myself off the counter and head out the backdoor, catching up to Akamu who was tapping his foot, waiting impatiently. Outside at last, I stare off into the wide-open training area. Practices dummies lined up row after row, all of them beaten and bruised, targets for arrow shooting, and a large platform meant for one-on-one fighting. CLASH! BANG! Well, we don’t have to look far for dad. He is off thrusting his spear relentlessly into that poor training dummy.
“Dad, can you let the dummy rest? At this rate it’s going to get up and run away." He turns and looks at me, the sweat dripping down from his muscular chest.
“Ah, you two have finally arrived. Now come, there is much to do.”
“Alright! This is what I have been waiting for,” My brother shouts. He always gets hyped up for training, what a weirdo. I’d much rather spend my time down at the beach. He picks up a spear, and begins thrusting the air with it.
“Let me guess, more mental training for me?” I sigh.
Dad looks at me with his scar covered face. “Actually, no Kal, I have something different in mind for you. Follow me." He turns and nods to Akamu. “You know what to do son, get to it."
“Right! I’ll get even stronger!” As we walk away, I hear the sounds of clashing as Akamu tries to match what dad was doing earlier.
I follow dad down into the jungle below our house, but he takes me on a path I have never been on before. The wild sounds of insects are overwhelming here. I hate walking around in the forest because I never wear shoes. One day I feel like I will accidentally step on a snake, but I steel myself and keep walking on the moist dirt. The dampness of the jungle air is completely different from the calming breeze of the beach, it is heavier and somehow even wetter. My dad cuts through some vines with his spear, and we step forward to see a waterfall. At the bottom, it looks like a stone platform is sitting there. No way this can be the training dad had in mind.
“Woah! Dad, there’s no way I'm ready to fight you. No way at all!” I step backwards, wanting to immediately run away and hide. My legs begin to shake at the thought of fighting him. My sparring with Akamu has left me bruised time and time again. I can’t imagine what a fight with dad would leave me like.
“Kal, listen to me." He puts his hand on my head, basically palming it with his large hand. “I know you have been struggling with confidence. You are my daughter; I know when something is up with you.”
He got me, no use in hiding it any longer. “Well, yeah. I just don’t feel like I'll ever be strong enough to please you dad.” I feel the tears well up, but I'm not releasing them. “I’m just a weakling by nature. You would be better off fully focusing on Akamu than me." The trees stop flowing with the wind, and everything is at a standstill. “I am made for laying around, not running an entire island."
“And that’s where you are wrong. You are my daughter just as much as he is my son. I would never ignore you. I’ll always be here for you."
Hope begins to override the doubt, and a tear begins rolling down my cheek. “Sniff. Sniff. I don’t know why I feel this way dad, but I do.I just wish I had confidence." The goofy and happy girl had been a façade for so long. This is who I really am, a sad excuse for a Chieftain’s daughter.
He walks over to the stone platform and stares up at the waterfall. “This is why I brought you out here, the only way for you to get over that negativity is to see yourself in action”. “You need to see how amazing you truly are Kal."
My jaw drops, and my heart rate skyrockets. “Wait you can’t mean? No, no, no dad I don’t want to use it”, I flail around trying to make him understand.
“Those flames of Pele, are meant to be wielded. It would not make sense wasting a goddess's power. If anything, it would be downright disrespectful," his voice is flat.
“I can’t control them though; you saw the last time I tried using my power. I almost burned down half the island!” Flashes of that chaotic day swirl in my mind. The screams of the villagers fill my mind as the flames dance through the city, destroying all in its path. All of it caused by a young red haired girl thinking should could do anything, but in reality, she could do nothing.
He ignores what I said, and continues on. “It is time Kal, that power that you have is the strongest I’ve ever encountered. With it alone you are much stronger than me and your brother combined.” You just need the confidence behind it."
The worry begins to set in. “I doubt that I will be able to control them, what if I hurt you dad? This is a goddesses power and you are a human."
“Do not worry about me, I would not be so half-witted to take on a gods power without properly preparing myself”. He beckons me to join him on the platform. “Now come Kal. Your training begins now."
Stepping onto the platform, the wet touch of the stone is cool, almost like stepping onto ice. The waterfall is calming, majestic even. That is about to change though. My dad looks at me with his yellow eyes, and takes his combat stance with his spear in hand. I try and take my stance confidently, but my legs are wobbly. They won’t respond fully to my command. Remember your mental training Kal. I close my eyes and balance my breathing. My heartbeat calms down; and I finally take my stance.
“Now Kal, unleash your power”, dad tells me. His tattoos shine from the water falling down. “HUUUAAAAAAAAHHHH!”, my scream echoes through the forest. The warmth through my body is immense. The flames come from my body, through my hands. This is my power as the essence of Pele, and is the main reason behind my lack of confidence. My fears begin to come alive; the flames begin shooting out all around us. Like an uncontrollable flamethrower, the flames seek everything in its sight. Now I can see why dad chose this place. Some of the flames are quenched immediately by the waterfall, creating a smokescreen of steam. Suddenly a spear lunges from the cloudy steam, but I narrowly dodge it.
“Nice job evading that, but you’ll never win with only defense." Dad lunges at me again, this time I only avoid it by slipping and falling. I must look so pitiful in his eyes. I can’t control my power; I can’t even balance myself. How can I gain confidence when my head is full of negativity? It's so frustrating, I can’t take this seriously. I look dad in the eyes, and he has the same stone-cold warrior eyes I wish I had. At this point I hear her soothing voice, “Kal, you have always been amazing. Now start believing in it, and live your life like it." It has been a while since I've heard from her, but she is right. I am Kalama Palakika Ma’Telekahunaoa, daughter of Nakoa, I may not look or act like it but I am force to be reckoned. That’s it, I'm tired of being so cowardly. I’m tired of thinking down on myself. No more, I will change. Akamu is right, my nonchalant outlook has resulted in nothing but stagnant cowardice. This is what I must do, I must get serious. This is the only way I can find the confidence.
I jump up from my pitiful state. The flames come back out, seeking to cause destruction. I won’t allow them to dictate me anymore. “You are right Pele, I am amazing.Time to act like it!” My dad braces himself as my flames increase in intensity.
“Kal, don’t!—" he must’ve thought I was going to burn down the entire forest. Nope, he couldn’t be anymore wrong. Now it’s time to get serious, for the first time ever. I close my eyes, and picture the flames dancing around. My muscles tense up, and the flames tighten around my hands. They are no longer shooting out everywhere. Now they are in my control, engulfing my fists in their orange brilliance. The trees are blowing around frantically, and waterfall itself seems to be in awe of my power as its crashing ceases.
Dad’s mouth opens wide. “You have done it! Now come Kal."
A sly smile spreads across my face. “With pleasure! "I lunge at him full speed, so quickly he can’t even counterattack in time. The shock in his face is off putting. I’ve never seen him look like that before. “Gaaaaahhhh!”, dad grunts as my flame covered fist connects with his chest, blowing him completely into the waterfall.
“Crap! Dad! Oh no!”, my flames disappear and I sprint through the waterfall. I knew doing this was a bad idea. To my shock, dad is standing completely on his feet, with a tiny fist sized hole through his shirt. It shows how massive of a human he is.
“WOOHOO! Now that was a hit! That’s my girl!” He grabs me and hugs me tightly, almost crushing me like Akamu does.
“D-dad, let me go!”, I manage to squeeze out. He loosens his iron grip. Geez, I wish dad and Akamu would be more sensitive towards me. I guess this is good though, nobody expects a five-foot girl to be this strong.
“Sorry, I’m just so glad to see my daughter grow before my very eyes”. He puts me back down on the ground. “You have the confidence you need. No one can stand in your way except yourself, Kalama Palakika."
I glare at him. “Thanks for the words dad, but you know I hate my name. It’s too oldy sounding."
“Yes, but they suit you well. An epic name for an epic daughter.” Dad begins walking over the stone platform. “Now let us head back, your brother has probably destroyed all of those dummies by now."
We walk back through the jungle, with dad watching me, his eyes are still star struck. I look up towards the sky, and see a beautiful woman, with her flowers and orange garments flowing in the gentle breeze. “I did it Pele, I actually did it” I whisper. She smiles at me, and disappears in a flash of flames. I have found the confidence I need, now all that’s left for today is eat that entire hunk of meat mom is cooking.