Writer in Motion- Editor Draft
I didn’t mean to start the fire. It’s not my fault. Nobody told me I could shoot sparks from my hands. It was supposed to be an easy sixth-grade science fair project. Instead, I couldn’t light the stupid hand sanitizer on fire and the judges were staring at me and, well, I got a bit frustrated. Then sparks shot from my hands and they caught on fire. I screamed and waved them around trying to put the fire out, but when I did, the flames started flying everywhere and soon enough, poor Lisa’s Climate Change poster board was up in flames. Ironic, I know. The whole auditorium erupted in panic and a teacher grabbed the fire extinguisher and sprayed foam on everything.
And now here I am, sitting in the office, covered in foam, for starting a fire and destroying the science fair. I stare at my hands. No burns. No scars. Just some sticky hand sanitizer.
“Violet Evans. The principal will see you now,” the grouchy receptionist calls with her scratchy voice. She pushes up her extra-large glasses which, when combined with her tiny scrunched nose and wide mouth, made her look like a toad. I stand up slowly and exhale and glance out the window towards the forest that surrounds our school. The sky has been gloomy looking all day. My mom had said there was a chance of dry lighting, whatever that was.
Then, like I willed it with my mind by thinking of it, a giant flash of lightning flashes through the sky right into a tree. The crack is so loud it shakes the building, and a bright orange glow pierces through the room. My eyes widen as the tree is ablaze in flames.
“Oh my goodness! Sound the fire alarm!” Mrs. Loki yells as she picks up the phone to call the fire department, I assume.
My stomach twists. I’m not about to sit around and wait for the school to catch on fire, so I run out of the office towards my class, but as I look again towards the fiery tree something catches my eye. A man. Surrounded by smoke. His face is hidden below a hood while gray smoke circles around it. My stomach twists. Who is that? He is freaking me out.
The fire alarm blasts in my ears. I wince and cover them with my hands. When I look again Smoke Man isn’t there. Students file through the halls while teachers motion silently for them to follow. I push my way through students and outside but I can’t find my class.
The fire is spreading closer to the building. I cover my mouth and nose with my shirt but the smoke stings my eyes. A student bumps into me and I stumble and fall. Pain shoots through my knees and palms. Students are walking all around me in straight lines, following their teachers, but no one bothers to help me up. Typical middle schoolers.
Then a hand reaches out. I gratefully grab it and when I look up, I am face-to-smoke with Smoke Man. A scream escapes my lips and I stumble backwards. He grabs my wrist and pulls me at the speed of light behind the bleachers. Does no one else see this? Where are the teachers when you really need them?
“Let go of me! What do you want!” I scream, fighting his grip. He lets go and motions towards the fire.
Smoke Man comes closer, smoke still surrounding his face. I’m not even sure he has one. “You must stop the fire,” he says in a raspy voice.
“You are the only one who can do it," he says.
I have no idea what he means. I’m just an ordinary twelve-year-old. Except….the sparks.
He nods. “You can control it.”
I think about this for a second. Can I? I only just started noticing the sparks an hour ago. But then again, maybe I have been able to do this all along. Maybe all those times the fireplace suddenly sparked. Or….I know what I have to do.
My feet carry me as fast as they can go toward the fire. I can barely breathe, partly from the smoke and partly from the panic rising from my gut. This is crazy. No way is this going to work. I have to try.
Every bit of me says to stop. Even my legs feel heavy as I run. But my mind wills them to listen. This is so stupid! What am I doing?
The smoke is too much, but Smoke Man suddenly appears beside me and the air becomes clear. I nod. When the heat from the flames becomes too much I stop.
I reach my arms up high, my chest tight and hands shaking. My fingers spread. I gasp a deep breath of air and yell, “STOP!” For a second, it seems like the flames waver, but they continue on. Oh no.
I try again, “STOP!” But no dice. The flames are even closer. I keep trying but it’s not working. And then, I am surrounded by fire. This is probably what it felt like to be a witch on the stake burning. My whole body erupts in pain. I can’t think. I can’t…
But my body cools and tingles. My hands seem to be holding onto something. Fire. But I’m controlling it. I wave my arms around my head and the fire moves with me. All my strength goes to controlling the flames. Slowly the fire gets weaker. My body feels like it's glowing and powerful. I swallow up the flames, suck them in until they are no more.
When I open my eyes, I’m on the ground, surrounded by burnt trees. A teacher rushes up to me and carries me in his arms to safety. All I know is that the fire is out. I saved the school. And Smoke Man was right-I have the crazy power to control fire.
*Thank you to my awesome editor Kota Rayne for the amazing edits! You rock!