Two Sides of the Same Picture

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Deja Vu

Wandering down the streets back to my house, I thought about the strange boy I had met. How had he sprouted wings? Sure, they were beautiful, but it wasn’t natural for anyone with magic to have wings (I had already decided he had to be magical to have wings). Magic didn’t give people wings. It was possible to fly, but nobody had actual wings. Maybe he could create illusions and he was so advanced in his magic that he could make them solid. Wondering, I scanned the skies to see if I could see him. Not seeing anything, I sighed and hurried the last block to my house. Unlocking the front door with my key, I shoved open the door and walked in.

Immediately, I heard voices. My family was in the kitchen, talking and arguing.

“What are they doing up so late at night?” I muttered, already completely forgetting everything that had recently happened. All I wanted was to go to sleep in my bed, but the only way was through the kitchen. And that meant facing my family and listening to their yelling.

Sighing, I walked in and I asked them, “What are you all talking about? Do you know how loud you are? You’re going to wake up the entire neighborhood!” Silence descended around my family. Turning around, they all stared at me like I had become some strange alien creature.

Finally, my mom broke the silence. “E-E-Erica?” she asked, like she couldn’t believe I was here. “Yeah? Why are you all looking at me like that?” I asked, not realizing how late it was.

Getting over their shock, everybody all started yelling at once.

“Where have you been, young lady?!”

“You’ve been gone for hours!”

“What were you doing?”

“Why didn’t you come home earlier?”

“What happened?”

“You’re going to be in so much trouble!!!”

“We were worried sick about you!”

“Your locater wasn’t working! We couldn’t find you!”

My family kept barraging me with questions. How was I supposed to answer them all at once? The noise was making me dizzy. Choosing to ignore them and instead focus on getting some sleep, I walked to the stairs and stumbled up to my room. Of course, everyone followed me up and into my room, still yelling.

“SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!!!!!!!” I screamed. They all quieted down. “Get out of my room!” I shoved them all out the door and slammed it shut, locking it to make sure none of them tried to open it. Dropping my bag where I was, I crawled to my bed. Too tired to do anything else, I fell on my bed and lay there, sprawled all over the sheets. There was a blissful silence, and my eyelids drooped shut, allowing me to (finally) get some rest.

I woke up to the sun blinding my eyes. Squinting, I closed the drapes next to my bed to block out the light. Yawning and stretching, I fell back onto my pillow and closed my eyes. Turning my head, I glanced at my alarm clock sitting on my nightstand. It read 7:15. Great. I overslept. I was going to be late to school.

Groaning, I rolled out of bed and fell to the floor, not bothering to get up for a few seconds. Pushing myself off the floor, I walked downstairs to the kitchen and saw a stack of pancakes in front of my seat. My parents were also in the kitchen, reading the newspaper. When they heard me, they looked up and put their papers aside.

“Erica, what happened last night? Why weren’t you home sooner? We were so worried about you!” my mom said. Plopping down in my seat, I suddenly remembered everything that happened last night.

“Erica, please tell us. You can’t just shut us out,” my dad said.

Sighing, I told them about the Test and what my power was, but left out the part about meeting the strange boy with wings. Stunned, my parents just stared at me.

“I… I’ve never heard of a shapeshifter before. I didn’t know that was even a power,” my mom said, frowning. “Is that why you were home so late?” I could tell she was doing her best to keep control and not freak out.

“Yeah. I don’t have any control and I just randomly black out in one place, then wake up in another,” I said, stuffing my mouth with pancakes.

“Do you need help controlling it? We can go see a specialist or something,” my mom said, sounding worried.

“No.” I definitely did not want to go see any specialist. I hate needing someone else; it makes me feel useless and helpless. Finishing my breakfast, I told my parents I needed to go get ready for school. School was finishing up and I would start at a magical school next year. Thinking about it, I wondered where I should go. There were many different options, but I would probably end up going to the one my siblings all went to. Well, all except Ciela, who was a regular and couldn’t go to a magic school. Since everything is based on your ability, I would probably get into the higher-level schools, since they only take people with rare or super strong powers.

Thinking about it made me excited. For once I could actually be better than my siblings at something useful. My brothers always bragged about being in one of the better schools. They both had unnaturally good control over their powers. Their powers are petty common and nothing special, but since they have unusually powerful abilities, they were able to get into a relatively good school. My oldest sister, Avaron, also has good control over her power, but it might be because she has had the most practice. Most magicians get animation, vision, healing, or elemental powers, like water, fire, earth, or air.

Hurrying back downstairs, I quickly said bye to my parents and rushed out the door, realizing I had just missed the bus and would have to run to school in the inner circle in order to make it on time. For a second, I wondered if I should try to control my power and turn into something, but quickly dismissed it seeing as I had no experience whatsoever in anything magical.

Jogging to school, I decided to take the less crowded routes. The less people the faster it would take. As I passed by one of the more abandoned streets, I noticed that this time it was unusually crowded, and for some reason was really damaged. There was a wailing noise and large crowd gathered around something. Curious, I pushed my way through the crowd to see what was happening.

I gasped. In the middle of the crowd there was girl who was completely cut up into pieces. It looked like someone had taken a knife and sliced her up. Her blood was pooling out of her body, still spreading out. The people were careful to avoid it, shifting their feet and backing up if the red liquid spread to their feet. Next to her, was a man on his knees, screaming and crying. He must be her father. Another black figure lay unconscious on the ground, facing me and completely covered in blood, but not cut up into pieces like the girl.

On closer inspection, I realized his face looked familiar. Then it struck me; he was the boy from last night! The one with wings! Looking at his back, I didn’t see any wings this time, making me wonder if he really did have wings or if I was correct last night: that he was an illusionist who could make his illusions solid.

Dropping down, I reached out and checked the guy’s pulse. It was there, faintly beating. Sighing with relief, I dropped his wrist, unsure what to do next. Everybody else around me was either talking really loudly, or staring at me. Feeling self-conscious, I ducked my head and tried to merge back with the crowd.

Suddenly, the boy’s eyes snapped open. His green eyes were wild and unfocused as he stared straight at me. After a few seconds, he pushed himself up into a sitting and looked around, realizing there was a crowd around him. Glancing behind him, the boy saw the cut up girl. Scrambling to his feet, he turned around and shoved his way through the crowd. They yelled parted for him, not wanting to touch him.

“Wait!” I cried as loud as I could. I shoved through the opening in the crowd that was quickly closing. The people didn’t bother to carve a path for me, instead glaring at me and altogether making it harder. Finally, I emerged through the edge of the crowd and saw the a flash of black as the boy darted into an alley. With no idea what I was doing, I took off after him, yelling and ditching my school stuff so I could catch up.

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