You might call me crazy or say that those stories were only fictional, but listen closely when I tell you that the story of Aang the last airbender was real. Centuries ago, benders ruled the planet, freely using and enhancing their abilities. However, those without bending powers revolted out of fear and jealousy. This holocaust lasted decades with thousands of casualties. Brother turned on brother. Benders ran into hiding to protect themselves and their families. After the dust had settled, those without bending powers finally ruled the world. This is where the world as you know it began. Although, there are still those who are hiding.
And that's where I come in. I'm a pretty introverted earth bender the ability I inherited from my mother who was executed by the government when I was too young to remember. My father taught me the singular rule I needed to memorize for the rest of my life. Lay low and don't draw attention. That wasn't difficult for me in the slightest. I stayed at home on the weekends and went to school on the weekdays. I lived in a major city without much earth to bend. I longed for communication with others like me. Someone who could teach me how to hone my abilities so I could do more than levitate a few specks of dirt.
My father explained to me that there were some rumors about how the avatar was still being reborn to this day, but the government hunted them down in an attempt to end the cycle before the avatar liberates society and brings people like me out of hiding. I always kept my eye peeled when I was wandering for those who basked in the wind a little too much, liked their tea a little too hot, swam a little too deep, or camped a little too often, but I hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary.
My friends and unknowing family members thankfully hadn't suspected a thing from me. My father tried to keep me away from strangers as often as possible, but sometimes it was unavoidable. It got lonely always being in that house, never feeling like I truly belonged in this world to begin with. Everything was pinned against me and paranoia of the government tracking me sempiternally haunted my dreams and thoughts. I never felt safe or felt like I had a home.
My best friend, Hadley, and I were walking home from school. We lived in the same apartment building so it was only natural that we became friends.
"You should really come on the hiking trip with the class this weekend. It's worth bonus points and it'll be fun!" she exclaimed with wanderlust in her eyes.
"I don't know," I hesitated, "My father doesn't usually allow me to do those sorts of things."
"You're never allowed out! Isn't that weird? Let me try to talk to him, please! I have a way with parents." She was desperately trying to convince me even though I've been shutting her down this entire week. Maybe my father could get through to her.
"Sure. I think he's home right now if you wanna' try."
She practically hopped up and down with joy. I could see through her eyes she was already plotting what her dialogue would be to my father.
As I unlocked and opened the door, she pushed right past me and rushed over to my father watching the news on the television. That's all he's done since my mother has died. Kept a very close eye on all the happenings in the world. I never pried and asked him why, but I assumed it was because he was looking for signs of trouble that could possibly come to me.
"Mr. Gentile! I have a question for you." She sat down in the armchair next to the couch where he was located.
Without tearing his eyes away from the screen he replied, "Yes?"
"We have a camping trip this weekend for science class and Sophie hasn't been on any of them! It's worth extra bonus points and there will be plenty of teachers and chaperones. She hasn't been out of the house in a while and her social skills are seriously lacking," she turned to me and stuck her tongue out teasingly. "Please?" She finished.
"Is it really that suspicious that she hasn't been going out a lot?" This time, his gaze tore away from the television set and locked onto her emerald eyes. I was taken aback by the lack of his favorite phrase no.
"Totally! No one sees her aside from school, even her closest friends like me. And she hasn't gone on a single field trip ever even the nonboring ones like this camping trip." Hadley didn't skip a beat and the threatening gaze of my father seemed to not phase her the slightest.
"Very well. I'll allow her to go on this field trip, but only if it's in a remote location."
"Totally off the grid," she promised.
She squealed and grabbed my hands rushing me to my room to begin packing. While being dragged away, my head turned back towards my father, eyes wide open by his sudden change in heart.
"Okay so we'll need a good pair of sneakers, some shorts, ooh can't forget a hairbrush to tame that beast perched on your head." Hadley was going on and on and on, but my attention was on my thoughts. What had changed in my father? I no longer heard the news blaring in the living room.
A smack on top of my head snapped me out of my thoughts.
"Hey! Listen to me! Which sweats do you wanna' wear for the bus ride?" I pointed to the dark brown pair. Camping trip? Woods? Earth? Somewhere I finally had the freedom to connect back to my element and hopefully advance my practice.