“You know… You’re pretty smart,” Dad says quietly. “I didn’t think you’d even think about it.” I smirk and he chuckles, “But then again, I should’ve seen it coming.” He is quiet for a while. “We… The Elites protect the tri-cities from wildlife… There are forests all around these three towns, and… So many times in the past, even with our founding fathers, innocent teenagers, children, adults… have been attacked, not only by bears but coyotes and wolves. A huge moose once when I was fourteen years old… Two teenagers were driving late at night, and the moose… Ran right in front of it. They didn’t have a chance, but one survived, though he witnessed his best friend being eaten by a moose.”
“What,” I shriek.
“That’s what we are protecting these towns from,” he says quietly. “I just wish you didn’t have to put your life on the line…”
“But I can’t…”
He smiles sadly, “This is the life we were born to live.”
I am silent, I understand, but I didn’t like it. “Can you teach me how to sprout my wings?”
“They are already out,” he smirks. “I don’t think you understand how smart you are. You did that without even trying.”
I shriek, seeing red wings sprawled out. They are a beautiful auburn red. “I thought it would hurt… I can barely even feel them.”
He smiles, “But they are there.”
“Why did you think I would be a phoenix,” I ask.
“Because I sometimes when I look at you… Your eyes flash flame red,” he says quietly. I look at him alarmed. “It’s okay, you have nothing to worry about. Only the Elites can see it.”
“What’s your eyes supposed to flash,” I ask.
“Yellow and sometimes white,” he smiles.
I stare at his face until just as he turns his face, his eyes flash just like Storm’s would in X-Men. “That is so cool,” I say quietly. I nod, “What else do I need to know for tonight?”
He is quiet as he stares up at the trees, “Don’t hesitate or… You may die.”
I lie in bed waiting. Dad had gone to bed, kissing me good luck. I was dressed in a fitting track suit, ready… waiting.
I wasn’t nervous, or scared. Dad had answered all my questions. My cell phone vibrates. Alice’s name pops up. I unlock my phone and read the text.
Meet us at the edge of the forest behind your house… We’ll be waiting…
I open my balcony doors and taking a deep breath to steady myself, I fly away towards the forest. I land lightly on my feet. I look up to see the shocked expressions on everyone’s faces. “What,” I ask quietly.
“Your eyes are glowing like fire,” Alice whispers shocked.
“I’m… a phoenix,” I say quietly.
“You know how to fly already,” Natalie asks.
“My dad gave me lessons today,” I smile wryly.
“He was home,” Paul asks.
“Yes, he lives here,” I say.
He brushes it off. “What kind of bird is your dad,” Mason asks, impressed when I make my wings disappear.
“An eagle that plays with lightning,” I smirk.
“You should not have flown here,” Paul says irritated. “Your servants could’ve seen you.”
I am quiet for a second, “I don’t call them servants so don’t speak of them like that please.” I am silent for a moment, “And as for them seeing me… You didn’t see me until I appeared in front of you.”
Paul doesn’t say anything as he turns away from me and walks on.
The other’s follow in silence though Mason walks beside me. “I thought that was pretty cool,” he says quietly.
“Thanks,” I say quietly. “It felt great. How does it feel for you when you’re running?”
“Wow, it’s exhilarating, sometimes I forget about being half animal,” he says quietly. “I’m a cheetah,” he whispers.
“Are you two gonna hurry up,” Paul growls.
“Wow… He does sound like a bear,” I mumble. Mason chuckles and Natalie giggles overhearing.
Paul gives me a warning glare. I zip my lips and throw away the key. He turns away and leads the group away from my house.
He stops and we huddle around him. “Since we now know you can alter, can you track and see if there is any danger,” he asks as if it’s a challenge.
“Okay, sure,” I say. “Just one second.” I step back away from the group and shoot right up into the air. I take a deep breath and slowly I turn my head around hearing and feeling every heartbeat, every breath intake. I slowly make my way down to stand in the same place I shoot up from. “There’s no danger,” I say.
Mason is smiling, though Paul frowns. “What’s your deal?”
Paul pauses, “What do you mean… What’s my deal?”
“You look like I just stole your show,” I frown.
He shakes his head, “You don’t take this seriously.”
“I think I should be the judge of that… I was just told I can turn into a freaking flamed bird,” I say. “How well do you think I should be taking it? Wouldn’t you have freaked out if your own father turned into a freaking bird right in front of you?”
Mason smiles but averts his eyes understanding how I feel. Paul doesn’t even hesitate, “I’m sorry if your father kept your own existence from yourself for all these years, but I’d—”
“Do you hate my dad or something, why do you speak of him like that,” I ask with a frown.
“Look could you just shut up and listen,” he asks, yelling now. “I don’t have time for snobbish brats that defend their fathers when they haven’t been there for them!”
I pause and tilt my head to the side, “We aren’t on the same page here. You make it sound like my father deserted me, number one. And number two, I’m not a snob or a brat.” Frank loses it. He laughs loudly which sets the rest of the group off. I look at all of them confused. “I’m really not a snob or a brat,” I say.
“No, it’s not that,” Natalie smirks.
“Then could someone please explain it to me,” I ask.
Alice smiles, “Paul is jealous because you were able to alter on the first day that you found out, while for him it took—”
“Alice shut up,” Paul growls.
“Yep, I can hear the bear in you,” I mutter.
He is so furious, that he moves swiftly to stand in front of me. I know he’s not going to hurt me, I can feel his heartbeat and his intake of breath as he comes closer. He’s not hungry for blood shed, but he is angry. “Relax,” I say, just as I feel the brush of my flamed wings fan out. “You don’t want to play this game.”
“I don’t think it’s fair for you to be angry that I’m faster at picking this up than you did,” I comment looking him in the eye. “It’s been proven that girls are much faster than guys.” Paul growls so close and snuffs loudly, actually making my hair breeze back. I catch Mason’s eye and chuckle, “I guess I bring out the bear in him?”
Paul growls but Mason steps in the way to draw him away. “That was so bad, Ray,” Frank laughs. “I love this girl, didn’t I say she was awesome?”
Alice and Natalie laughs. Mason is still standing in front of me, protecting me from Paul it seems. He chuckles and glances at me over his shoulder. “Not the best day to rile him up.”
I shrug, I’m about to say something when I feel a fire flame up my fingertips. Someone is in danger, Paul senses it too because he growls once before the group transforms. Everything is happening so fast that I don’t process it. I take to the air and quickly find the exact location. A wood chopper is close to the mountain, half-drunk with a bottle of beer in one hand and a rusted axe in the other. A huge mountain bear is watching his prey quietly creeping forward on all fours. Paul is quick as I direct him to the exact tree the bear is hidden under. He is swift as he attacks, grabbing a hold of the bear’s fur and throwing him in the direction away from the clearing where the wood chopper would see.
The others stand back as Paul finishes the bear off.
Willis and Natalie are in their beaver forms, they carry the huge bear away to the river.
It is quiet and I slowly descend to the ground.
“Good job,” Paul says. “You’re not worthless after all.”
I blow a fireball just by his feet and turn away. I sense him jump back and he stares at me as I walk down the mountain.
“Goodnight, I’m going to bed,” I say.