The Chosen One
“You can’t be serious,” Emily said. It’s not like I could blame her, I could barely believe it myself.
“I’m totally being honest, I swear!” I replied. I moved my hand, feeling the flow of power, as shapes and diagrams formed around me.
Emily gaped, made a squeaking sound, and stepped back.
“See? It’s not just pretty lights, either. I can make things and do things.” I spun in a circle, the figures flowing through the air to settle on my body. In seconds I went from wearing a comfy, over-sized t-shirt and shorts to an elegant, almost Chinese-style top, a pleated skirt, matching stockings and gloves, and some real cute shoes. All were covered with magical symbols.
The lights faded as the spell ended. I jumped up and down, danced and skipped around my little sister, “isn’t this awesome!”
She was covering her eyes.
“You forgot panties!”
I felt my cheeks turn bright red, the blush working its way down my neck.
“Oops! Um. Just a second.” I concentrated, letting the current of knowledge pour through me. Huh. That was weird. I grabbed a pair from my dresser. “Guess I still need some wardrobe stuff!”
“Jessie, this is crazy. What happened?”
“Dunno,” I told her. I was preening in front of my mirror. I couldn’t believe my hair. Sparkles and dancing motes of light shifted through the dozens of elegant braids below a rakish beret.
“Something had to happen!”
“Well,” I admitted. “I had a weird dream.”
“What kind of dream?”
“Um. Hard to remember,” I admitted. “There were these things outside the house. Ruffo started talking to me, asking me something.” My voice faded as I tried to remember.
“What?” Emily picked Ruffo off the dresser. The stuffed animal looked like an elephant, though it had a lion’s mane and legs more like bird’s. I’d been in a sullen mood when I picked the toy at the end of our vacation in Rome. Now he was my ally!
I winked back at him as he held still in Emily’s grasp.
“I’m not sure any more.” I tried to frown, but found I couldn’t. I was too giddy. I grabbed Ruffo and twirled again, laughter bubbling from me — literally! Effervescent purple and green bubbles drifted around my head.
I tossed Ruffo on my bunk before grabbing Emily’s hand and pulling her to the door. “Let’s show Mom and Dad!”
“Should we?” Emily questioned. “Aren’t these things supposed to be secret?”
“Ruffo said there wouldn’t be a problem.”
“Why’s it so quiet?” Another question from Em. Usually her incessant questions irritated me, but not today! Besides, she was right. Zoe, our aunt-turned-babysitter should be up by now chatting with The Parents. Even a lazy Saturday morning would be a minor riot between the adults and the dogs.
We were on the landing, with the stairs a dozen feet away. Emily tried to hang back, but I skipped around to half hug and half push her to the stairs.
“What’s that — “ Emily’s voice stopped. We both did.
The hardwood floor at the base of the stairs was stained dark. It had a sticky look to it which made my stomach lurch. Yet at the same time, the metallic scent drifting from downstairs caused a rush of hunger.
Vague memories teased my mind. Last night was pretty hectic. “Did someone spill some Ketchup?” I skipped down the stairs.
As the state of the house became apparent, my steps slowed. Scorch marks covered the floors and walls. What was left of them. Holes and tears everywhere. Bits of ceiling fell, passing through the gaping holes in the floor to join the debris in the basement.
“Wow!” My pace quickened. “That was some fight.” I flashed a grin up at Emily. “Wish I could remember it better.”
Her eyes were wide and fixed on something past me. I turned and looked. “Oh, yeah! One of the monsters got inside somehow.”
My feet were light on the stairs. In moments I was in front of Emily. “Don’t worry, Em! It’s really, really, dead!”
I took her hands and led her down. A touch of magic and we drifted through the wreckage to the kitchen. “We can get breakfast and — Hey. What’s that noise?”
I left Emily at the table and danced to the sink to look through the window. “Oh crap!” There were several monsters creeping around the yard. Were they trying to resurrect the two I’d slain by the garage? Magic popped and sparked beyond them, blues and red harsh in my eyes.
I gathered magic, feeling my skin tingle with the rush of power. “Don’t worry, Em! I’ll take care of them!”
Her face was pale, her eyes wet with tears. She couldn’t take her eyes from the pieces of the monster’s carcass strewn across the front hall. “Zoe?”
I gathered her up in a hug, placing a mild euphoria spell on her. “Wait here, Em. Those orcs don’t look very strong! Not like the ogres last night!”
She started to smile as I turned do to battle. Power lanced out from me, collected the ruined walls and floors, and converted half the house into a mass of gleaming weapons.
There were only a few of them. This wouldn’t take long.
“Are you people insane?” My voice is rough, barely louder than a whisper. Tears make my eyes damp. I have a hard time focusing on the two women and the man across the shiny steel table. Drugs again. One of those needle things they can shoot from a gun, probably.
I almost laugh. A nine year old girl put to sleep like a rhino or tiger.
“Why would you do this again? Didn’t you learn the last time? Or before that? How stupid are you?”
They frown, look between each other. They didn’t expect my anger. They never do. The woman on the left starts to speak. I interrupt her.
“Why do you keep making her mad?” I shout the last word. Spit it in their stupid adult faces.
I test the bonds holding my legs and arms. The cuffs at ankles are tight but my hands are loose. I can move them several inches. Good.
“We want to understand what is happening,” the woman says. “The things your, ah, friend can do. They defy all known physics.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I mutter. I taunt them. I can’t help it. “Conservashion of energy. E equals eem cee squares. Square root laws. I’ve heard it before.”
I stare at them. They are taken aback. Not by my hostility — anger isn’t on my face. It’s pity.
“You have to let me go,” I tell them. “Whatever you drugged her with won’t last. That crystal shell covering her will open and she’ll come out. And she’ll be pissed.”
“We have time,” the other woman says. “She’s surrounded by a — ”
“Stasis field? Electromcnugget barrier? Lasers? A ton of C4? Entombed in concrete?” I smirk when expressions change. “Concrete? Are you serious? That’s what you dick heads tried the first time!”
My laughter fills the room. Shrill, but I don’t care.
“You’re going to die! You’re all going to die! Again!”
The man swallows. “Didn’t you give her a sedative?”
“Doesn’t work,” I tell them. “She made me happy.”
I lean forward. Another smirk as they twitch back. “She’s been quiet before. Several times. You know that with your satellites. Didn’t you twits realize this has been done before? Don’t you realize every try failed?”
I sigh. “I’m a princess. It’s her duty to protect me from the monsters. And you people are the monsters.”
The room shakes. Dust drifts from the ceiling.
The first women reaches across the table, her hand falters. “We’re being broadcast across the world. Tell us how to stop her.”
“You’re monsters,” I remind her. “You have to stop being monsters.”
The room twists. Crumbled concrete flows from the walls like water.
Symbols flow through the air, seeking me out. They form layers on me like glowing bandages. Other lines touch the adults. Their blood sprays out.
None of it touches me.
“Be a pretty good idea to stop kidnapping her little sister.”
Jessie turns the mountain to rubble as she lifts me from it.