Celia's parents urged her to leave home when she turned thirteen. They claimed a day trip to the high, desolate plateau looming over the village would do her growing body some good.

Celia politely refused. The house she grew up in was secluded enough, situated on a hill just outside town, with the two people she loved most always there for her. She opted to enjoy the dawn of her teenage years with them as her rite of passage.

One mother smiled, hands clenched in her lap, while the other said nothing.

One week later, Celia received a home-made birthday cake. She hadn't hoped too hard for a party; her moms preferred to keep it a private family gathering. Otherwise, Celia's thirteenth was her best birthday ever.

She didn't remember much after eating a hefty slice of that cake. One of her moms had led her to the overstuffed armchair in the living room. After Celia sat down, she hadn't been able to keep her eyes open.


Cold weighed down Celia's arms. She snapped her eyes open to find thick iron shackles chaining her wrists together.

Her shorter mom's hands were on the shackles, and the woman flinched away from the metal with a gasp.

Celia asked her mom what she was doing. The kind lines on the stout woman's face shifted around widened eyes and a screaming mouth, and she knocked over a vase in her haste to escape the room.

Concerned, Celia stood up to follow. Chains wrapped around her body jangled and tightened as the armchair rose with her, light as air. She shrugged off her binds, shattered chain links embedding into the walls and ceiling as the chair crashed to the floor on its side.

Celia stooped over to pick up the fallen vase, cushioned by the carpet so it hadn't broken. The fired clay scorched and collapsed into ash where her fingers brushed its surface.

Celia turned to follow down the hall where her shorter mom had fled. Her taller mom blocked the way, hands and feet braced on either side to prevent passage.

"Why didn't you leave?" Celia's taller mother was sweating, her breath labored in the shimmering heat. "Why didn't you listen to us?"

Celia repeated the answer she'd given one week ago. She didn't want to leave the only home she knew, the only people who had ever loved her, on her most special day.

Flames climbed the peeling floral wallpaper as she said that to one of two people who had never feared her before that day. Celia's taller mom grimaced, face pouring sweat and tears.

She didn't move as Celia approached with open arms and glowing orange shackles dripping holes into the hardwood floor.

Celia hugged her mother. "I'm sorry, Mom. I didn't mean to make you cry."

Smoke poured out of the woman's mouth as her daughter's embrace consumed her.


PROMPT: The chosen one refused to leave everything behind to save the world. What happens now?