The Red Raven Chronicles: A New Beginning

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Chapter 3

I head out of the hot kitchen and call out, “Hey, dinner’s ready.” There’s no response. “Harrison?”

I walk into the living room to see him holding a picture. Once he feels my presence, he says, “This seems so long ago.” He angles the photo so I can see it.

The younger versions of us are standing in front of the camera with annoyed looks on our faces. My arms are crossed, and I am staring down the camera; Harrison is mid-sigh.

The outfits we are wearing are skin-tight. They are blue and roughly the same. Except, Harrison has shorts while I have a skirt - with shorts underneath.

The two of us look completely identical. The circus company we worked with decided we didn’t look like twins, so they made us change up our look. I get it. My ginger hair and green eyes don’t exactly match Harrison’s brunette hair and blue eyes. As a result, I was forced to dye my hair the same shade of brown as Harrison’s hair, and Harrison had to use green contacts to match my emerald eyes.

“Ah. The Watt-Twins,” I say with a laugh.

I put my hands up dramatically and do an impression of the rough voiced man who used to introduce us, ” ‘And now! The most impressive act! The youngest of our team! This brother-sister team of acrobats will astound you! Please welcome the Watt-Twins!’ ”

I laugh. “I’m surprised my hair ever recovered from being dyed brown every week.” I look down at my hair. I’m so lucky it isn’t destroyed.

“Yeah, well, you were lucky. Those green contacts were hell. They had to be insanely dark combat how blue my eyes are. It hurt to look through them,” Harrison complains.

“I guess we didn’t look enough alike for them to advertise us as twin acrobats. Which is ridiculous because, even though we look nothing alike, you’re still my idiot twin brother,” I say while knocking his shoulder with mine.

“Hey!” His eyes turn mischievous. “At least I have a soul. Unlike your ginger butt.”

I smack him on the arm. “Rude.”

He sets the photo back down and notices one of Lee, Parker, and me. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this one.”

The three of us are laughing at each other. Parker is on Lee’s back, and Lee has a startled and confused look on his face but is still laughing. I’m standing next to them, crying with laughter. There are large coffee cups in all of our hands.

I pick it up and smile at the memory. “I remember that day quite fondly. We decided to go to as many coffee shops we could, and have one drink at every one. All of us ended up being super paranoid and had muscle tremors. It was a fun day.”

I hand Harrison the picture, and he laughs. “How far in were you guys at this point?”

“I think we were on our sixth.”

“All of you look insane.”

“I’m pretty sure the lady agreed to take the picture because she was afraid of what would happen if she refused.”

Harrison smiles and sets the photo back down. He starts heading towards the dining room and yells while walking, “You better not poison the food again.”

“No promises!”

After dinner, Harrison and I head into the living room. I ask him while sitting, “So, honestly, Harrison, what are you doing here? Not that I’m not happy to see you, I am, but this is very unlike you.” He sits down next to me on the couch and exhales. He starts picking at the cushion next to him.

“Something weird happened to me. I was gonna call you, but it felt like it would be better to tell you in person,” his speech is rushed and quiet.

I put my hand on his arm. “I’m here for you. You can tell me anything.”

“I was at the park we always used to go to near our house, when I saw this bird lying on the ground. I went over to it, and that’s when I noticed it was dead. Like I was 99% sure it was, but I wanted to double-check. So I picked it up-stupid, I know-and examined it; I came to the conclusion that it was definitely dead. Its head was swinging around like it snapped its neck and everything. That’s when the bird flew out of my hands as if nothing happened. I’m 100% sure it was dead, but it flew off.”

I look at him with horror. He looks at my face and his falls. “I knew you’d think I was crazy. Why did I even come here? This was a bad idea.” He gets up and starts heading for the door.

“Harrison! Wait!” He pauses mid-stride but doesn’t turn to face me. “I know exactly what you’re going through!”

He turns around begrudgingly with an annoyed look on his face. “How could you possibly know what I’m going through?”

“Because I’m going through the same thing!”

He rolls his eyes. “You are bringing stuff back to life too?”

I grimace. “Well, not exactly...”

He sighs. “That’s what I thought.” He puts his hand on the doorknob.

I start growing desperate. I stop trying to fight the fire inside of me and let the warmth engulf me. In an instant, my arms are enveloped in fire. The air around me increases to the temperature of a sauna.

Harrison seems to feel the sudden warmth in the apartment and turns. “Holy shit! You’re on fire!” He races to the kitchen and grabs the fire extinguisher.

“Harrison! It’s me!”

He stares at me perplexed until a look of realization crosses his face. “Holy shit! You have fire powers!”

I focus, and the fire dies down. It eventually ceases, leaving me-and everything around me-scorching. “See! We were both affected by whatever caused this, but in different ways, it seems.”

Harrison’s eyes are glazed over and huge. “Holy shit. You were on fire.”

I grab his shoulders, and he winces. “Sorry. You need to calm down. Remember our parents’ latest experiments and how secretive they were? What if the reason they were being so secretive was because they were giving us these powers?”

Harrison crumples onto the couch in shock. “Holy shit.”

I rush over to him. “Are you alright?” He looks at me with wide eyes. “I think this is too much for you. How about you go to bed in the guest room, and we’ll talk in the morning. I’m gonna take a sick day tomorrow. I know you want me to go to school, but this is way more important! We have powers, Harrison! Wow! We’re like superheroes! So I’m staying home tomorrow, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Now go lay down before you pass out on me. We both don’t need to pass out on the same day.”


I’m awoken to knocking on the front door. I roll over and check my phone. It’s still early. I groan and turn back over. The front door opens.

“Oh, hey, Harrison. What are you doing here?” Parker’s voice is faint.

I hastily get up and wrap a robe around me. I go to the door before Harrison can say anything stupid. “Hey, Parker. What’s up?” He looks relieved to see me.

“I didn’t want you to be late for school. It’s 7:30.” He cracks his knuckles.

I grin at him. “Aw, thanks, but I’m gonna be staying home today. You know, family stuff.” I tilt my head towards Harrison.

“Makes sense. See ya later.” He turns and starts heading for the elevator.

“Wait!” He turns to me, confused. “Do you wanna come over for dinner later? I’m making spaghetti.”

His eyes light up. “Your special recipe?”

“Of course!” When I smile, my nose scrunches slightly.

He smiles back. “Then, I’ll be there!” He walks away, then I shut and lock the door.

Harrison turns to me. “So, M&M, what are we gonna do today?”

“Ha! I beat you again!”

I groan. “This is the fourth time in a row! Are you cheating?” I push my game pieces to the side.

He gives a triumphant laugh. “Nope! I’m just that good! Besides, it’s impossible to cheat in Chess.” He smirks slightly.

I narrow my eyes. “Tell me the truth.” My head buzzes as if it were filled with thousands of bees, and I’m pretty sure I can almost hear Harrison’s thoughts, but that’s crazy, right?

“I was influencing your decision on where you moved your pieces.” He claps a hand over his mouth. “What the hell? How’d you do that?”

“I...I don’t know.”

“Maybe try it again?”

“Fine. Go, make me a sandwich.” I meant it as a joke, but he gets up and starts heading for the kitchen. “Stop!” He pauses as his foot is about to go back down on the floor.

He turns back to me with a look of terror. “Did you see that? My body moved against its will! I was fully conscious, but it was like I was possessed or something!”

My head feels like it’s full of marbles. “Let’s not try that again.”

He sits back down across from me. “What does this mean?”

“I don’t know.”

“What even is this power, M&M?”

I let out an annoyed sigh. “I don’t know, Ho-Ho. Maybe something like convincing speech? Like my voice can convince people to do things against their will?”

“Seriously? Like a siren?” He seems excited about the possibility.

“I don’t know. Maybe?” I shrug my left shoulder.

Harrison and I sit there staring at each other with bewilderment for what feels like an eternity.

On his left arm, I can barely see the scar on his bicep that usually is covered by his sleeve. Looking at it reminds me of all the identical ones riddled over both of our bodies, the mark our parents left behind.

“Hey, you ok? You look like you’re somewhere else.”

I turn my attention back to my brother. “Sorry.”

The expression on my face must be a dead give away something’s bothering me. “Are you ok?” He looks down and notices the scar showing. A look of realization crosses his face. “You were thinking about it, weren’t you?”

I nod my head. “It’s hard not to. It was such a big part of our lives. All the torture. Every day. It would never fucking stop! And then last year we didn’t even have solace in the fact that we at least had school. That we at least had that time to get away. They took that away from us! They made us do homeschooling just so they’d have more time to conduct their experiments on us! It would never end! They were always working on one of us or getting ready for the next one! It would never-” My voice cracks and I start sobbing.

Harrison gets up and kneels in front of me. “It’s ok. Our parents are assholes, that we know, but at least we had each other. I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if I didn’t have you there.”

I smile at him. “Sorry about crying.” I sniffle and wipe my nose with the back of my hand. “It’s just that when I think about-” One of my tears fall onto the table with a loud sizzle.

Harrison reaches towards me but yanks his arm back. “Em, you’re burning up.” Suddenly, my body bursts into flames.

“Fucking seriously?!” Harrison jumps back to escape the flames. “Fascinating. It seems when I get upset, it causes my powers to act up. It makes sense since it’s fire, and it doesn’t like to be contained. I guess my emotions feed it, so when I get emotional, it acts up. That’s interesting. I wonder-”

“Em! Stop talking and try to stop it!”

“Oh, yeah. Right. Sorry.” I close my eyes and focus my breathing. When I open my eyes, the fire is gone. Harrison starts to come back over to comfort me, but I stop him. “I’m still hot for a while.”

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