I sat at the computer, chin rested on my left hand while I clicked away with my right, aimlessly trawling through the internet. Every so often, I'd lift up my hand to push my unruly red hair back out of my eyes.
A little while later, I stretched, popping my knuckles and watching as little flames bloomed at the tips of my fingers. They died quickly, leaving sooty marks on my skin, which I brushed off on my jeans, before standing.
The computer hummed to a stop, and I sighed as the screen went black, heading to the lab.
The research centre was huge, stretching nearly a mile across the surface of the Antarctic. Dad and I had a cabin to ourselves, separated into three rooms - mine, his, and a 'living' area, which we used to keep the spare clothing, mostly. The thick jackets were a little big to fit in our wardrobes.
I weaved my way through the through the corridors, breath billowing out in front of me, even as I dug my hands deep into the fur lined pockets in an attempt to keep warm.
Tiny sparks dashed across my fingertips as I walked, too cold for me to produce proper flames. Stupid dad and his stupid job makes this stupid power even more difficult to control, I thought resentfully.
As I entered the main lab - the 'HQ', if you will - I kept my head down, not wanting to speak to any of the other researchers' kids. I got mad in school last week... I don't think they're over it yet.
"Hey, Dad." I muttered, looking over his shoulder at the glass container, not really taking in what I was seeing. Some white thing.
"You okay, kid?" Kid. Yeah. Sixteen years old isn't a kid any more, dad. I'm almost a man, goddammit. I took a deep breath to calm myself, rubbing the tips of my fingers together in order to quench the flames. Anger makes them more violent, apparently. I made a mental note as I blew on the tiny burns. Ouch.
"Sure. What you looking at?" I wandered over to the microscope on the counter, peeking in to see some random crap that I really don't care about.
He stood up, stretching his arms into the air and cracking his back. I winced at the sound. "Oh, just a snake."
I turned to look at him in disbelief. "A... snake?"
"Yup. A snake. In Antarctica." He wandered away, heading for the coffee machine in the corner of the vast room.
Snakes don't live in Antarctica, it's physically impossible. Their cold bloods means they must have a constant heat source to keep them warm... or something. Someone must have brought it here with them. But we haven't had any new volunteers for almost two months...
So why the hell is there a snake, still alive, in our lab?
I stuck my hand in the cage on impulse, not even realising what I was doing. The scales felt surprisingly dry beneath my fingers as I stroked down it's long spine. It was a shockingly bright white, almost perfectly matching the snow outside.
The next thing I knew, I was sprinting back to my cabin, snake tucked firmly under my jacket.
I think I like this thing.