"What?" she said, peeling herself away from the window.

"What's your medium? It just occurred to me that I've never asked before" Phoenix said chuckling.

Phury was silent for a moment, then finally mumbled, "I croud."

"…Cool, um… do you want to know mine?"


He gave a wide smile, "I'm telekinetic. My second is transference." His smile faltered a bit, "Do you have a second?" he asked gently.

"Yeah," she cleared her throat, "Mine is transference too."

"Wow! That's great!" His smile was beaming "We really are family huh?"

Phury attempted to give a small grin, "Yeah."

The look on his face proved her attempt was not successful.

She patted him lightly on the shoulder and felt a jolt go up her arm. Yeah, there was no denying it.

Once again the car was silent except for the hum of the engine. Phury didn't panic this time, but she still felt tension. "What's wrong?" she asked.

"I'm just wondering…" His voice turned into a whisper, "What's your defect?"

"Well. I…I," She closed her eyes and breathed, "Um, I pan—"

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked." He said quickly, "Of course you're not comfortable sharing something like that, something that personal. We barely know each—"

"No, Phoenix. It's fine." She rolled her eyes, "I…well, I panic."

"Oh, wow. That's…how bad is it?"

"As a kid it was pretty bad, but now it's…still bad."

"That must be terrible."

"Not really, I've lived with it forever. It's normal."

He smiled, "I'm glad you have such a positive outlook."

"Whatever," she mumbled, he was so…optimistic, "So, what's yours?"

"Mine?" He said raising both eyebrows. His shocked expression irritated her, like she didn't want to get to know him at all. "I'm clean."

"Wow." That explained the car.

Phoenix laughed, "It's not that bad actually, it's really nice."

"How can having an uncontrollable impulse to clean everything, be nice?"

"It's nice because I like to clean. It makes me feel good."

"Hmmm… If you say so." She said with a smirk.

Phoenix laughed, "Whatever."

They drove in silence a moment longer before Phoenix pulled over to the side of the road, "Phury?"

"What? Why'd you stop?"

"I'm curious. I never really understood what crouding was. Is it true that you can croud anything, even plants?"

"Yes…" She answered slowly.

He gave a sly smile, "Do it to that tree." He pointed past Phury to a short and thin tree. The bark was peeling off and only a few lonely leaves were dangling off its branches.

"Why? And why to something that hopeless?"

"Come on," He urged, "I've never seen it done before."

Phury rolled her eyes and focused on the tree, using her mind to grab the crouds and will them into it. The limbs began to vibrate and snapping sounds rang throughout the area. After a tense second, the tree burst. Pieces of wood sped past the car and dug themselves into the dirt around them.

Phoenix was quiet for a moment, then finally said, "Wow… how do they look?"

"How do what look?"

"The crouds."

"They look like…um…It's different for everyone, but to me they look like wispy, glowing, blue, ribbons."

"Ribbons?" He said starting the car.

"Yes, Crouds are just… negative thoughts, every negative thought that has ever been had. They float around for all eternity, or until someone like me comes along and crouds something. Doesn't it make sense for me to think about a thought looking like that?"

"I guess. How can negative thoughts affect plants though?"

"Their not really negative thoughts, it's just the," she paused looking for the right word, "the raw negative energy that forms them. Enough of that in anything can cause some serious damage."

The house was huge, and completely out of place. It seemed like it belonged in a suburb rather than out in the country. Phury climbed out of the car and smoothed down her dress. The High Society was in town and it was necessary to make a good impression. She felt her heart begin to pound as she looked down at her clothes. She should have worn something longer, the dress stopped just above her knees. When she was choosing an outfit it seemed nice, but now…

She began heaving her breaths as the scenario became clearer in her head. The Great One would take one look at her and immediately write her off as a tramp. A tramp! She would be a disgrace to the entire district. She staggered backward until she hit the car. Slowly, she slid down the door to the point where she was sitting in the dirt with her knees pressed up against her chest.

"Phury?" Phoenix asked coming to her side of the car. "Hey," he said squatting down next to her, "relax. What's wrong?"

Phury opened her mouth but all that came out were her gasping breaths.

"Phury," He placed a hand on her shoulder. "Please, calm down."

She grasped on to his arm. Moments passed until her breaths finally returned to normal, her tight grip loosening with the process. "I'm okay." She whispered. "I don't know why I did that." She stood up. "Well, I- I do, but…it's just stupid."

He smiled at her, "It's not stupid, it's your defect. We all have one."

"Yeah," she looked around. They were surrounded by trees and the road they drove on was completely out of sight. "Who made this one?"


"Who's Marx?"

He looked at her with wide eyes, "The Great Ones' son. You should know that! How could you not-"

"I know who he is, gosh." She said rolling her eyes, "I was just under the impression that he was a psychic."

"He is, impressions are his second." He said walking toward the house.

"Wait," she followed him, "a second impressionist can't create something like this." She gestured to the scene around them.

"Well, he can."

Phury scoffed and crossed her arms as they walked into the house. They were immediately greeted by a tall man in an oversized jacket. His pale wrists were beacons against black fabric of the jacket, and his head, which had been bald for years, was a shade lighter than the already white skin on his face which was currently adorning a large toothy grin. His tongue slithered between the hole where his second front tooth should have been and in a deep gravelly voice he spoke, "Hello children," his voice rose at the end, making his greeting sound like a question.

"Hi Gregory." Phoenix replied.

"No, no, no, that is Sir Gregory, young Phoenix." Another question.


"Good!" He sounded immensely pleased. And without word he turned around and disappeared into the crowd.

Phury and Phoenix were left standing alone in a large room, apparently the house was an illusion as well for there were no walls and the room was a spacious as a warehouse, half of it was occupied by chairs and tables, decorated in white and clear vases holding red roses as centerpieces, and the other half was vacant of furniture except for two long, elevated tables and a podium that stood between them, the whole arrangement was pushed up against the wall opposite of the tables.

About half of the massive crowd in attendance was standing up chatting, Sir Gregory among them, and the other half was seated at the tables. Phury felt herself begin to shiver as she took in the large crowd, she felt as if her skin was being gnawed at by rodents and as if an ominous cold was seeping into her bones. She gulped and tried to make herself calm down as she and Phoenix made their way toward the tables, and upon closer inspection, discovered that small nametags rested at each seat.

"Looks like we're not late." Phoenix said, "I'll find you when this is over, okay?" Phoenix said placing a calming hand on the shoulder of his sister whose eyes had gone wide.

"Okay." She squeaked.