It had been nearly a month since my birthday and since our family split.
I got the matches out and stared at the fire. I saw it flicker and dance on the head of the match. Then, somewhere deep inside me, I felt the flame. I could see it in my mind, bright and glowing. I tried to think of the flame stilling but not going out. I opened my eyes, not sure of when I closed them, and saw the flame go unnaturally still. I had finally figured out how to keep the tiny flame in check! When I showed my mother, she nodded, happily and then went about cooking dinner.
I said, "What now?"
She looked at me, age in her eyes and said, "Patients Mya. You will know soon."
I nodded, anger growing. I had spent a month practicing on controlling a flame and she wouldn't even tell me what was next? I looked at the match, the flame still motionless and wondered. What else could I do with it?
I focused on it in my mind's eye and tried making it brighter. I opened my eye and saw it was not only brighter but a different color. It now flickered blue.
I kept my eyes open and wondered if it would separate from the match. The flame jerked to the side and seemed to fling itself off of the match, hovering in the air.
I dropped the match and lifted my hand to the tiny fire that was dancing in the air, not touching it as it hovered. A laugh burst out of me as I pictured it spinning and twisting in the air. I pictured it growing, splitting, becoming more flames and it did. I giggled and the little flames spun around my head, lighting up the night.
Chaos looked at the flames with boredom, only doing anything if one came to close. I pictured the flame gathering again and changing itself into different shapes. The first was a miniature bear, which growled at me and ran along an invisible road in the sky. Its path was shining with the glow of where the fire had once been. Sparks, leaping off of its feet and fading slowly into the night. Then it rolled and turned into a tiger, stalking after prey I couldn't see. Then it in morphed into a bird, soaring into the night.
Chaos spotted it in this form and crouched, prepared to attack the flying fire. She pounced, and the bird dodged her every time. Chaos started hissing at it and I couldn't keep from laughing
My mother came back, and said, "What is all this racket?"
She came around a corner and saw the moving flame.
"Mya! Hold it!"
Her voice stunned me and the bird froze in mid turn. Chaos pounced and howled when she touched the flame. She darted off to me, gazing at the fire with hurt.
My mother grabbed a small glass bottle, no bigger than my thumb, and held it close to the fire. "Mya, put the flame in the bottle."
I stared at her, hurt, and said, "I don't want it to go out."
She waved her hands around dramatically and said, "It won't, the bottle will keep it going! Now put it in! Quickly!"
I looked at her for another second and then nodded, urging the little flame to go in the bottle.
My mother closed it with a snap, and I panicked, fearing that she had lied to me and that it would go out. But it didn't. It kept flickering, moving. My mother whispered a few words and the bottle started glowing. After a few seconds my mother sighed with relief and handed the bottle to me. The cork had a chain attached to it.
My mother stared at me and said, "Mya, I need to remember what I am saying. Never give that bottle to anyone! Your first flame is a very important object to a Djinn. It is a little part of you, and because of that, in the wrong hands, it can control you. It is against Djinn law to take the first flame away, but it can be given. Wear this around your neck and do not lose it!"
I nod at her, frightened. I put the chain around my neck and looked into the mirror. The flame was beautiful. The way it moved and tossed inside the jar was fascinating.
The next afternoon we stopped somewhere unusual. It actually looked like a house.
"Mom, where are we?"
She looked at me and smiled, "I think you are stable enough to stay in one place. Rune isn't quite ready yet, but when he is, your brother and father will meet us here."
"Where is here?" I asked, staring at the small green house that had a big tree in the small yard. I looked around; there were other houses nearby, but not necessarily suburban close.
My mother petted Chaos and said, "This is our new home. Welcome to Auburn."
We unpacked and set up the house. "Mya," My mother said, stepping around a box, "This may be temporary. If anything unusual happens, tell me and we will set off again."
I felt chills run down my spine, and I said, "I thought we had lost them."
She nodded and said, "We can never be sure. Now rest up, you have a big day tomorrow."
I tilted my head and said, "What is it?"
"Tomorrow you start school."
"It is August. You need to go to school. You may be Djinn, but that doesn't mean you can drop out. You will be starting your senior year tomorrow with the rest of the humans."
"I don't know anybody! Everyone will be wondering why I left before senior year! Please!"
"Mya, you are going tomorrow. End of discussion."
I felt a pain go through my chest. This would be the first time I went to school without Rune. All the pain I had of being separated from my twin came up and crashed into the bed, sobs wrenched from my soul.
I felt someone walk in and sit on the bed. I tried to quiet my crying. I didn't like to be seen as weak.
The figure said, "Calm down, Mya. Soon everything will be good." Ice ran up my spine. The voice wasn't that of my mothers. It was the voice of the shadow. The shadow that visited me the night everything went wrong. I jolted up and looked for Chaos. She had somehow managed to chase it away last time.
The figure chuckled and said, "Your cat won't interrupt us this time. Don't worry, I just want to talk."
The figure was surrounded by thrashing shadows, circling him like a cloud. It was unnatural the way the shadows clung to him. I couldn't tell anything about the person who was beneath.
I tried to glare at the figure, but I couldn't find the strength.
He said, "Your brother will be reunited with you soon. And I will be here as well. You won't be in danger among the humans for much longer."
All my strength seeped out of me and I crashed to my bed. He tisked and said, "You need to learn how to shield yourself better. Soon the Other will come after you as well. Don't worry, I won't let him have you."
I said, "You are one of them. You are one of the brothers!" I tried to crawl away from him, to get to my mother and to run.
The figure sighed and said, "I can't have you run away again. You will forget this happened by morning."
I glared at him and said, "Why did you come then? Why tell me if you want me to forget?"
"Peace. I want you to feel peace."
I snarled at him and said, "I will never feel peace when I am hunted by the likes of you."
"Hunt. Fascinating word choice. But who says we haven't already caught you? I am running out of time. I will see you soon."
One of the tendrils from the shadow reached out and touched me. I felt my memory of the night being ripped away from my mind. The tearing, shredding, reduced me to tears. Soon, the pain gave way to sleep and darkness welcomed me into its arms.