Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso


Graphic by Tessa Kassoff

For the month of May, The Lasso is featuring a collection of short stories submitted by seventh grade students at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School. You are cordially invited to take a break from reality and take a ride into the vivid world of short fiction!​​



By Amber Radcliffe




Need… to..c-cover…..



Chapter One: Awake

 Suddenly, nothing became everything. Well, almost everything. Though I could not see, I could still feel and hear. I was lying on what seemed to be the softest bed I had ever felt. The mattress was a cloud against my bruised back, and the blankets felt soft against my burned skin.


Kind but lively chatter floated to me from, I guessed, behind a wall. The rays of sunlight beaming down on me, likely from a nearby window, tried to penetrate my eyelids, but I would not, could not, let them. The confusion washed over me and lingered as I wondered where I was. Then, an internal tsunami crashed and I wondered the rather peculiar question that no one wants to experience unless they are a newborn child. Who am I? The question stung me and bounced around, filling up my head. Could I not speak, see, stand, breathe… anything? No, I could definitely breathe. I could tell because my heart pounded against the cage of my body. I could feel and hear as well, so I could definitely stand, see and speak, right? Of course, I remembered what those were, so I obviously could do them, right? The confusion froze into doubt and fear.


No. I have to stay calm. Though I may not remember anything before waking up, ‘fear will do no good against’….. Against what? Someone had said that once, but who? I stopped my efforts at life because my hearing had become less foggy than when I had first gained consciousness. I could hear the chatter dying down, and now only the rush of running water, the clatter of plates, and light talking could be heard. Footsteps were clattering upstairs to the room in which I lay, and their presence had sent another wave of dread through me. Who are these people? What do they want with me? Am I going to die? The door opened, and two pairs of footsteps entered.


“He looks like he’s still out cold” The first voice belonged to that of a lively teenage boy. Was I a boy? I could not remember.


“Ya think? He hasn’t woken up in a month.” The second voice was a deeper, older teenage boy, likely around eighteen… A MONTH???????????


“Naw, It’s been a month and a half.” The first voice corrected. At this, my eyes flew open and I sat bolt upright. The two teenagers jumped back, and the younger one fell down into the hallway. The light blinded me, as a third motherly voice called “BOYS! Keep it down up there!” The younger one jumped up and hit his head on the door frame. Seeing his failed attempt at alerting voice number three, the older boy yelled “He’s awake!” and ran down the stairs. At the sides of my vision, the darkness tried to crawl its way into my eyes as a result of sitting up too fast. I am definitely going to die. I thought as more pairs of feet climbed the stairs. I felt rather dazed. An older female, likely the mother, came slowly up to the room with a young girl, and the two boys from before behind her. The light from the window was blocked leaving the room dark with only the halfway light on. The family was held frozen before the door frame, and the younger of the boys’s gaze met my eyes. They were a brilliant blue and full of curiosity. While I was distracted, the others had crept closer into the room.


“Is he a Witch?” The young girl asked. I had to suppress a laugh. Witches were girls. Well, I may be a girl. I can’t really tell. But are Witches necessarily girls? Speaking of, what is a Witch? Before I could even open my mouth to ask the question, the older one, whom I assumed was the elder brother, replied.


“No, silly. Witches have pointy ears. Plus, he would be trying to hurt us now if he was a Witch.” Witches hurt people? Well, I haven’t heard of a Witch before, so I’m pretty sure I’m not a Witch. Phew.


“What’s your name, dear?” The mother asked. I would respond sarcastically with ‘Good question’, but I didn’t need to. The middle brother saved me, saying “I don’t think he knows.”


“You don’t know that!” The youngest cried.


“Tis the ‘G senses’” The eldest responded, likely backing up the middle child.


“Calm down you three!” The mother commanded. The room went silent as they waited for an answer, but none came to mind. I had no idea who, what, or where I was. I felt dreadfully confused, and the pressure of their gaze overwhelmed me. The mother took a deep breath, and stepped forward, almost as if I was going to bite. She sat down on the side of the bed next to me.


“Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you. You are safe here.” She reached out an arm to comfort me, but I instinctively flinched and hurriedly scooted away. What is wrong with me? I thought. There was nothing wrong with these people, so why did I flinch? A memory came to me, but before I could dwell on it, it too flinched and hurried away. The more I thought of it, the more my head hurt. It’s rather frustrating. This frustration must be showing on my face because the others looked scared. Well, all of them, except for the middle child. “Who slowly came up to me, and took the mother’s spot.


“Hi!” He said, with such normality that it made me feel not like a predator, nor like prey. It made me feel normal.


“Hi,” I responded. My voice was strange and yet familiar. Like a friend who you haven’t seen for many years, and they just randomly come back and talk to you.


“How are you?” He asks.


“A little confused,” I admit. The conversation feels as if we are simply friends. I think we might be. He looks at me with his brilliant blue eyes and asks, “Can you remember anything? With lots of emphasis on that last word. Speaking of anything, that is a funny word. I suppose it means anything. So yes. I do remember anything, like how to speak, feel, walk (I think) breathe, so then why does it feel like I remember nothing?


“I suppose.” I finally answered.


“Well, yeah. That was a dumb question. I mean, you talk, and breathe, and you’re blinking too. My mom, her,” he pointed to the mother “says I need to work on asking deeper questions. My name is George, but they,” He gestures to his family “call me Gg,” he pronounced it gee-gee. “What is your name?” he asked.


“Yeah, that’s the thing. I have no idea who I am, or where I come from.” I admit. I don’t know why I am telling him this, it just seems right.


“Like when you’re just born?” he asks.




“Can I give you a name?”


“I don’t think that’s how it works.” The eldest butts in tentatively.


“Sure it is!!” Gg responds, clearly insulted.


“Yeah, you can give me a name. It would probably be less confusing that way. Thank you.” I responded. The others, except Gg, seem hesitant.


“Well… You see…. Uhm… How do I put this? Gg sucks at naming things.” The little girl responds. “I’m Alice by the way, what’s… oh yeah.” She looks rather embarrassed. “Sorry…” She mumbles apologetically.


“I GOT IT!” Gg announces, startling everyone.





Chapter Two: Lux

I can’t believe I’m starting school in three weeks. Two weeks have passed since I woke up, and Ms. Evanns, the mother of Gg, insisted that I stay with them. Last Thursday while all of us were on the sofa watching the news, she announced that I would go to school. As always in the past two weeks, a memory had popped up, but it immediately dissipated when I tried to think about it. Ugh. Ever since I woke up, I have had these headphones on, and I have a deep desire to not take them off under any circumstances. In any case, when she announced that I would be going to school, all five of the kids immediately protested. Liam, the oldest, is already in his last year of high school. His plea was “Don’t make them suffer more than they already do, they can’t even remember their past!” For context, we have decided I am non-binary. Why, you ask? Apparently, I was born with a condition where I don’t have a gender. So that’s why I was confused! These were my thoughts when I discovered this. Again, a memory had popped up, but, like always, it vanished. Very infuriating. Gg’s plea was “Oh please!!!! I agree with Liam!! Plus if they were friends with me, they would get bullied too! Not to mention, they are nonbinary!” For more context, Gg is an eighth grader, the same age as me, and he has a bullying problem. He is a nerd, an outgoing personality, and (kind of) openly gay. This makes him a perfect target for insecure homophobic bullies. This has been going on ever since third grade, and it’s been the same boys, with additions over the years. I am a non-talkative person, which also makes me the perfect person to rant to. This is why I know all of these factors. The bullies are also transphobic, so Gg tells me, which would also make me a target. Alice’s objection was “Hey look, I know you might not remember school, but it is terrible! So much homework and other stuff!” Alice is two years younger than Gg and me, and she is just starting sixth grade. In our district, sixth grade is the first year of middle school. The immediate switch from elementary to middle has many problems, including extra homework, harder classes, and sleep deprivation. For some reason though, I am still excited to go. I am reviewing all this information in my bed.


The Evanns’ very kindly allowed me to sleep on the couch. It is a very comfy patchwork couch that is very giving when you sit or lie on it. It is almost like the couch is trying to consume you. The blankets are even silkier and softer than the ones on the bed. With their complete whiteness, it reminds me of snow. The pillow on which I sleep is a rather old pillow, but very comfy nonetheless. I like pretending to be fancy and saying things like ‘nonetheless’, and ‘the pillow on which I sleep’. I have discovered that the Evanns’ house is not actually a house, but an apartment in a bustling city. We are on the third floor, which is how I rediscovered that I have a fear of heights. I have odd nightmares of falling from a platform into deep water. Alice says that it is probably how I lost my memory. If that is true, it’s a miracle I survived. It is almost like magic. Whilst (see, another fancy word) I was contemplating (and another) these thoughts, Ms. Evanns came downstairs. I look up from where I am lying on the couch, and she almost falls off the stairs. The first rays of the sun are coming through the window, and the birds are only beginning to chirp. The couch is in full view of the stairs, and the kitchen, which is in a little secluded room off to the side of the living room. I can almost see the whole apartment from where I sit, which is why I could see her walking down the stairs.


“What are you doing up so early?” She asked. Ah, so that’s why she was startled. I thought. I pondered (and another) over this. I felt that I had been waking up this early every day of my life, for much longer than I could remember. Maybe not, maybe it was the nightmare again. Still, though, I was confused. If I had gotten up at this time every morning, why is it considered early? I was very strange in many ways.


“Muscle memory, I suppose.” I finally answered. She looked at me with the expression that people make when they either don’t believe you or think that you are weird. Likely both, in this circumstance.


“Since I’m up, can I make breakfast?” I asked. Somehow, even though I didn’t know a SINGLE THING about myself or my life before I woke up, I still remembered how to cook. Gosh.


“Of course dear, that would be a big help.” She replied. I got up and walked sleepily into the kitchen. As I was wondering what to cook, Ms. Evanns said, “So you’re starting school tomorrow. It will be your first day actually out of the house.” I had gone out earlier, but only to get mail and groceries. That usually took at tops thirty minutes. It wasn’t as though they were keeping me in here, it was more that I just didn’t want to go out. Instead, I tried to help around the house a lot. Housework kept you busy, so you didn’t have to think about all the wrong things in your life and the nightmare that kept you awake. Okay, maybe that’s just me. As I was getting out the pancake mix, I responded “Yeah, I suppose so.”


“Are you worried? Excited? I know you don’t like going out.” I poured the mix into a bowl and got the milk and eggs out.


“I guess I don’t know what to think,” I admitted. I seemed to be doing a lot of admitting things recently. I cracked an egg.


“Well, since you are going out, it is time I tell you about Witches.” Witches. Alice had asked if I was a Witch when I woke up.


“Didn’t Alice ask…” I wondered out loud.


“Yes. Witches are an ancient race that has existed long before humans did. They have the power to wield magic, and they love to hurt humans. You, I, Gg, Alice, and Liam are all humans. We all have round ears, while Witches have sharp ears. It kind of looks like elf ears. There are many different shapes of pointed ears, you just have to find the point to tell if it is a Witch.” She described. I was then very curious.


“What about Gg, Alice, and Liam’s father?” I asked cautiously. She sighed. “He deceived me. He said he was a human, but he was not. He… he told me when Alice was still in my stomach. She never got to see who her father was. When he told me… Oh please don’t judge me. I fully understand if you will hate me. The kids did for a little while. Especially Liam. He knew him the most.” She sounded in despair. I was flipping the pancakes. “I don’t want to force you-” I started.


“No, it is okay. Actually, you remind me of him. You both have the same feeling about you.” She admitted. “Do you know what I mean?” She asked worriedly. I slowly shook my head no. I flipped the pancakes on the plates and carefully placed them on the table.


“You are a big help, dear.” Ms. Evanns complemented. It felt as if I had never received a compliment before. I smiled. It is a warm feeling. It fills you up like a liquid, kind of like hot chocolate. I really like hot chocolate.


“Can you tell me more about Witches? Where did they come from?” I was very curious.


“Well, as I said, Witches have populated our world longer than humans have. Actually, there is a story that we come from them. It’s just, years and years of hate have built up between us, just because we were scared. I was scared when their father told me I…” She trailed off.


“Did you rat him out?” I asked tentatively.


“Yes.” She sighed. “I hope you understand I deeply regret it.” She said, sounding ashamed of herself. I couldn’t believe she would think that I would hate her for a small mistake. I suppose that she hates herself for it, and she can’t forgive herself. I fished around for another conversation because there was very great tension in the air. Luckily, I didn’t have to. There was banging from upstairs, and the patter of feet jumping down the banister, despite their mother telling them not to multiple times. Ms. Evanns sighs.


“We smelled pancakes!” Alice exclaimed.


“Hi Lux!” Gg greeted me enthusiastically. Liam came slumping after them. He didn’t have as much energy as the other two.


“Did you tell them about the Witches?” Liam asked as the others were sitting down. Just then, there was a knock on the door, which could barely be heard over the chatter and noise. Luckily, I have good hearing. Before I explain further, I should say what I look like. I am albino. Yet another thing that makes me weird. This means that I have completely white hair, red eyes (though Gg thinks they’re more pinkish), and very pale skin. I was a very unfortunate baby. This particular morning, I am wearing a too big green hoodie, jeans, and socks. I have headphones that I woke up with, and I really don’t want to take them off. This worries me because deep down, I have a fear that I am a Witch. Maybe right before I woke up, I purposefully wore these headphones to cover my ears. Ms. Evanns says I just have an attachment because it is the only thing left over from my past. I am not so certain though.


Anyway, back to the knock on the door. I cross the kitchen to the living room.


“Lux, where are you going?” Gg asks.


“Someone knocked on the door,” I respond. I cross the living room and open the door.


Outside stands a rather short, plump, old, gray mustache-wearing, bald, official-looking person with a bodyguard. Both men (at least I assume they are men) are wearing black. “Can I help you?” I inquire (another fancy word), trying to sound very polite. My politeness must have worked because I could see the shorter man’s face soften. “Yes, of course. Are you ahem-” He looks at a paper he is holding. “Lux?” He pronounced it L-uh-x.


“Uhm…” But before I could correct him, Ms. Evanns appeared behind me and gasped.


“Mr. Mayor?”



Chapter Three: The Mayor’s Visit


The mayor nodded. Turns out the mayor of this city is very short.


“Does L-uh-x live here?” He asked.


“Yes, this is them.” Ms. Evanns replied, pointing at me.


“Hm. I wasn’t aware that there were multiple L-uh-xes” The mayor commented. He reminds me of a weasel.


“Oh, no. They are non-binary.”


“Interesting.” The mayor mumbles. There is scurrying from the kitchen as the others scramble to see who it is, and why it is taking so long. I can hear them walking up behind me. I don’t know why, but a tingling runs through my body. It’s an odd sensation, like adjusting to cold water. Something about this mayor screams trouble, though I don’t dare interrupt. Especially with the intimidating bodyguard right next to him.


“May I come in?” The mayor asks, with a fraud tone of politeness. We all quickly scurry away from the door.


“So.” He says, walking towards me and looking up at me. His tone is like he is talking to an idiot when he says, “You may know that Witches exist. Now, I don’t want to scare you, but we have to check if you are a Witch. Can you please take off your headphones?” a plastic smile forces its way onto his face. Yet another odd tingle washes through my body, making me shiver a little. Luckily, the mayor doesn’t notice. The others have never seen me without my headphones, so they don’t know if I am a Witch or not. A tension arises and everyone holds their breath as I do as I’m told, and I reach up to my headphones. I slowly take them off. Round. My ears are round. Thank goodness. I don’t know why I think this. Of course, I’m human, what did I expect?


“John,” The mayor says, not taking his eyes off me. “Please perform a magic check.”


“High level?” The bodyguard asks.


“Yes, of course.” The mayor responds, again as if this lowly being disgusts him. The bodyguard pulls out what looks kind of like a hand-held metal detector. He scans me, then turns to the mayor.


“They don’t have any traces of magic.” The guard reports.


“Very well. Goodbye, L-uh-x.” and at that, they step over the threshold and close the door. I quickly put my headphones on, and I feel the tingle, but sort of in reverse. It courses through my veins and gives me a sense of relief. Silence still fills the room.


“Anyone else feel a tingle?” I ask.


“A tingle?” they all say, looking at me in confusion. All except Gg. He looks at me with dawning and unknown comprehension, spreading across his face.



Chapter Four: Secrets


Everyone dispersed after that, and Gg led me to his room. I came in and he locked the door. He looked at me, kind of scared, but more amazed.


“How’d you do that?” He asked, curious.


“How’d I do what?” I asked, very confused at it all. Gg’s room was the one that I woke up in, and the scene was the same. The first sunbeams were coming through the window, falling on the bed. It was almost nostalgic.


“That high of a spell!” Gg exclaimed.


“Spell?” I asked, now more confused than before.


“You really don’t know?” He asked, reflecting my bewilderment.




“Can I tell you a story”? He asked.




“I only remember two things about my father. One: He was a Witch. Two: He told me he was a Witch, and he told me stories about being a Witch. At one point, I asked him what spell casting was like. He asked me ‘What spell?’. I told him to tell me about the disguise that he used every time the Checkers came. That is what we call the Mayor and his bodyguards. He sighed and said it was a very high-level spell. He said it was like a tingle running down his body. A cold tingle.” This reminded me a lot of what I felt.


“Can you take off your headphones?” He asked. Once again, I did as I was told, bracing myself. Pointy. I almost screamed. Gg hurriedly put a finger to his lips, with a very considered expression.


“We have to hide this! I don’t want you to get taken too! Mom thinks I don’t remember, but I do.” He said.


“I don’t want to be a Witch! I can’t be a Witch!” I heard myself say. It was almost as if I was on another planet. I felt distant. Cold with fear. Terrified. Black.


  • • •


I felt the beating of my heart against me, slowing me down. I have to keep going. I can’t fail. I was on the bridge now, the metal’s cold magic absorbing my heat. I couldn’t let them pass. I wouldn’t let them pass. I wouldn’t disappoint her. Three. Good, they didn’t split. I thought. The three gasped when they saw me. That‘s right. They fear me. I don’t fear them. Hold on. I was squinting now, the fatigue catching up to me. I won't give up now, I’ve come this far. But… Hold on. Weren’t there three? I swore there were three. The last one is just hiding in the sunlight… right? I began my selected spell. The three, I hope there are three, cower at the sight of it forming. The circle of magic glows and binds itself as I trace my finger in the air, letting the energy flow out like water. I have to do it by hand because it is such a powerful spell. Only a bit longer… I tell myself.


“Why??” One of my targets yelled. I mess up. I am distracted from my spell. I know I have made the mistake only after it is too late.


“Why do torture us?” The other target yells. He sounds my age. Both of them do This is wrong. No! Don’t get distracted! But it is too late.


A familiar voice yells from behind me. “Don’t hurt my FRIENDS!”…. Falling…… Fast…… But… it feels so slow….


I woke up on the couch. It was already late afternoon. What an odd dream. Why was that voice familiar? What was that bridge? Who were the others? Why was I trying to hurt them? I asked myself. A million more of these questions invaded my thoughts and drowned out everything else. But then one came to me. I am a Witch! I was hurting those people because I am a Witch, not because I was trying to defend myself. But why was that voice familiar? It confuses me. Voices came from upstairs. By the sounds of it, It is a family meeting. I’m up almost too quickly. I think I teleported by accident. Well, being a Witch would explain a lot of my weirdness. I try to calm myself. I walk up the old stairs, making sure to avoid the creaking stair. I try to be as quiet as possible. I cross to Ms. Evann’s room. They always have the meetings there. I press my ear to the door. Oh, wait. There is probably a spell to hear stuff. I rack my brain. Got one. I summon all my strength and direct all my energy to my finger. I trace a circle- like pattern in the air which almost happens automatically. I must have used this spell a lot. It comes out very messy because I am not under pressure, and I have no practice. I wince, seeing the messy lines. I guess I’ll have to learn everything over again. Still, It works, and I listen.


“But we have to.” Alice wines. Little siblings are good at doing this.


“Yeah, just because you did it once doesn’t mean you’ll do it again!” Liam prompts. “Guys… What if they remember?” Ms. Evanns asked, scared. I then realized they were talking about me. I got scared.


“Probably won’t happen,” Gg replies dismissively.


“But what if it does?” She asked, still scared.


“Then we’ll just have to hope they don’t attack us,” Alice replied. I could practically see Ms. Evanns frowning. I stopped the spell and held my breath as I knocked on the door. All of the talk immediately ceased. I heard feet coming to the door, and Gg opened it. All the others stared at me. I took a deep breath.


“You were talking about me,” I say. I try to not make it sound like I am hurt. Apparently, I’m good at this because my voice is almost unrecognizable to me because it is light and airy, while inside I feel a terrible sinking feeling.


“How much did you hear?” Liam asks.


“You know I’m a witch, and you’re planning to get rid of me because you think I’m dangerous,” I say, trying to stop my voice from shaking. “I don’t want to be a Witch, okay?”


“Think about it Mom,” Alice says, directing her attention to Ms. Evanns. “They can help with the dishes.”


“Dear, that isn’t why they would stay.” She looks at me. “Do you promise you will not hurt my children?” She asks. I raise my right arm.


“I swear on my life,” I answer.


“Well then, you can stay.” Ms. Evanns says making up her mind. I do a little celebration in my head.


“Thank you,” I respond, not wanting to get beaten. Beaten?? I think. Why would I be afraid of that??? Just as I am pondering this, Liam asks, “Do you remember anything?” At this, I recount my dream.


“How come the only familiar one is the dude that pushed you?” Alice asks, almost offended.


“That’s what I was wondering!” I exclaim. “I don’t know why I was attacking them,” I say, worried they might want to kick me out.


“It’s ‘cause of the chip in your ear that all Witches have. It controls the mind and makes them hate humans. Yours fell out when I pushed you.” Gg responds. Everyone stares at him. He claps his hand to his mouth and looks positively terrified, more so actually. It’s like his soul left his body.


“Well,” Ms. Evanns starts. “It seems we have two people in this family with big secrets.” I can tell she is trying to lighten the mood, but it doesn’t help.


“Please don’t hate me,” Gg whispers. That’s all we can get out of him for the entire rest of the day.



Chapter five: Agents


The next morning, Gg leads us out of the apartment. We step outside and start down the hall to the elevator. I can’t help getting distracted by the weird carpet patterns as we walk. The elevator arrives right as we press the button. We all cram inside and Alice, who is the closest, hits the ground level button. I’m still wearing my headphones because if someone sees me, they will hold a ceremony and burn me for all of the city to see. It’s like the Salem Witch Trials, as Liam tells me. No one talks as we step out of the elevator on the ground floor. Gg still looks as if his soul isn’t there, and the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. He leads us almost dream-like down the sidewalk away from the nice part of town. I have never been this far away from the apartment, and I start to feel the anxiety rise up into me as the scenery around us shifts from clean white and tall buildings to dark, dirty, and crowded tenements and run-down buildings. Most of them are abandoned, which gives them a slight ghost-like appearance. Still dream-like, Gg leads us down a dark alley where I begin to shiver. It’s so putrid smelling. It makes me want to run far away from this place as a cold clammy feeling runs through me. The buildings loom up on either side of us, and I can see the others are affected by this clammy coldness too. All accept Gg, who knocks on a door and waits.


“Are you in a gang? If you are, you are in so much trouble young ma-” But she is cut off by Gg who holds up a finger. You can practically feel the heat from her anger. Alice slides close and hugs me. This is very comforting because another feeling of loneliness had started to creep through me. The door opens, and Gg steps inside.


“I’m sorry.” He whispers, ashamed of herself. A man, around 22 pokes his head outside and surveys us. He then points at me and looks at Gg.


“You brought one of them?” He asks, annoyed. How did he know?


“They forgot all about their past, and their chip fell out.” Gg protests. The guy sighs.


“Come in, the clammy feeling is only to dismay people.” He informs us.


“What is going on here? Have you been hurting my son?” Ms. Evanns asks protectively. Alice buries her head further into my side.


“No, he has been saving this city though.” The man responds exasperated.


“Please don’t,” Gg whispers.


“Shoosh. I am saving your butt.” The man says.


“Hehe. He said butt.” Alice giggles. The man motions us inside, and an odd water-gun-black-goopy-thingy passes right next to my ear. My hair is whipped back by the wind it makes.


“Oy, cut it out!” Gg yells.


“Oh hai Three.” A familiar person says.


“Shut it you!” Another familiar person says. They are both teens, around Gg and I’s age.


Hey, wait a minute. I think. Don’t I remember two teens around my age from somewhere else? That would explain why they are familiar.


“What have you been doing to my son and these children?” Ms. Evanns demands. The bit of Gg gained back immediately disappeared and he shrunk into a corner. Liam was holding onto Alice who was still stuck to me. We were all frozen in place. I surveyed the room. The two familiar teens were in odd suits made with strong but bendable fabric. It was also fireproof. I don’t know how I know this. They have long and puffy collars, kind of like a jacket. Actually, it was a jacket. They also had an earlobe piece in only one ear each. One of them was male(I think) and one of them was female(pretty sure). They were sitting on old crates. Actually, the room was littered with old crates, some threatening to collapse. Speaking of the room, was it my imagination, or was the room bigger on the inside? This was also a lot cleaner than I expected it to be. It was almost like the door was an unsuspecting portal. I turned and squinted at it. Yep. Definitely a portal. But then, where were we? I got over this question and I spotted two women, both in their early twenties like the man. They seemed to be sisters. One was leaning against the corner, while the other was sitting on a crate right next to the first one. The first one saw me looking at them and frowned, one of those very disapproving looks. I quickly looked back and saw that the man was explaining that they had never harmed or threatened Gg or the others.


“Actually, there was a time when we threatened Three.” The lady on the corner box said. We all looked at her.


“Remember? We threatened to take away his PB&J privileges if he wasn’t sneaky.” She explained.


“So are you making my child steal?” Ms. Evanns shot.


“Oh no! He is doing something dangerous though.” She said airily.


“What are they putting you through?” Ms. Evanns questioned a terrified Gg. He managed to open his mouth, but no words came out.


“If he wasn’t doing what he is doing, then the whole city would be destroyed.” The woman leaning on the wall said with a commanding voice. “Allow me to introduce ourselves. I am Mary, the leader of our group. The one next to me, my sister, is Cari. That guy,” She points towards the man. “Is Dylan. We are the heads of a group that is working on a name, but we do go by ‘The Agents’ sometimes. The children, including your son, are the capable people who help us in our motive of defeating the Witches. We all go by numbers in order to not give any personal information away. For instance, your son goes by Three. The children’s safety is our top priority, and we would not send them into anything they couldn’t handle. We are a secret organization because if we were famous, we would be easily tracked. Any questions?” She said all this with a calm, rather bored expression and tone. Ms. Evanns was so stunned she couldn’t come up with a rebuttal.


“Why is the door a portal?” I ask, seeing that no one else was talking.


“Wouldn’t you like to know, Witch,” Cari said loathingly.


“Yes, yes I would actually,” I responded without thinking. Cari kept staring at me with pure hatred. Finally, Gg seemed to recover his voice.


“They lost their chip.”


“Oh did they now?” Cari asked suspiciously.


“Yes, I saw it fall. It’s over there.” Gg answers, pointing at a table against a wall. They all go over.


“But… this is 00878’s chip,” Dylan says.


“Yes,” Gg responds. The numbers ring in my head, and memories come back to me. Step up, double O 878. And, 00878, keep up the pace. Why do I remember this now but not earlier? I ask myself.


“That’s where I recognize you from,” Gg says, snapping me back to reality. He looks very tired like he was crying the whole night. The complete opposite of Gg. The adults ‘Agents’ or something steps back away from me, terrified. The room is suddenly very tense. It’s terrible.


“Okay look,” I say, trying to clear the tension. “I don’t remember anything. I remember something about a 00878, but I don’t know what it is. Could someone please explain what’s going on?” I asked impatiently.


“Double O 878 is the worst Witch I have ever come across in my years of fighting!” Cari spoke angrily. “They got rid of our other sister!” She was yelling now. “Do you not remember her?! Her sacrifice to save us?!?” She yelled, even more enraged than I had ever seen anyone. I couldn’t speak. It came to my attention that my lips were dry, and my legs were shaking so much I was surprised I was standing. My throat held in my scream as Mary, who was holding onto Cari, let go and Cari came flying at me. She lifted me up by my collar, and her anger and yells were the last thing I heard before my vision went black.



Chapter Six: Fire


I was running again, I had failed countless times before. Punished. I couldn’t let them escape again. I assessed my targets. Agent one: Fast and good with her device. What was the device anyway? Like if dispenses a water-gun-black-goopy-thingy. It targets magic and destroy it. It’s a diamond-like device that sits on their wrist. Pretty sure it is attached to a glove. I would avoid her. She isn’t too weak emotionally either. Agent two: Strong and fast. She mainly covers the others. If I can distract her, the others will be easier. She is attached to Agent Zero, If I can get her she’ll go down with her. Agent Zero: The weak one. She is the brains of the operation. If I can get her, the others will come down easily. They were trapped. I got them in a corner. Cast my spell and stuck to the sealing. I watched them.


“We should be safe here. They can’t teleport here.” Agent Zero said. How naive. I thought. I had already passed one of their barriers before. I quietly sealed the entrance.


“How are we going to get out?” Agent Two, or Cari, asked.


“I don’t know, let me think.” Agent Zero responded. A very odd thought struck me. They are young. They probably haven’t even graduated from college. Oh well. My ear buzzed and I remembered the task, and the consequences if I failed. This was the first time I had actually gotten a person. A cold nothingness spread through me. Pity. It was traumatizing. My spell hit the direct middle of Agent Zero’s back, and Agent One immediately aimed at me. I barely got away, but her gloop had just barely caressed my arm, and I only removed it a millisecond before it would have taken my purpose to exist.


My back was very stiff, and I supposed I was lying on one of the crates. Hopefully not a coffin. Well. I thought. I was a terrible person. But people can change, right? What were the consequences? Why did I do it? BANG!! I sat bolt upright. I kept doing this too fast because I immediately had to lie down. I opened my eyes. Hold up. I wasn’t in the headquarters. Puzzled, I looked around. I was in a sort of cage-like thing, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SQUARE!!!! Why??? The Square is the plaza that the city revolves around. It is where the Witch burning ceremonies take… place……. Oh. And I can’t even apologize to Cari and Mary? Malarky. For some reason, I can’t feel bad for myself. I can only think about all the people I might have hurt. Maybe this is how they torture people.


“Oh hey. You’re awake.” A late-teen girl with a freckled face and long brown hair done into a braid was peering down into my cell. “You’re an odd one. Usually, a Witch would be struggling and trying to get out. They would then find that it is pointless, and they would start begging, and It would be a whole thing that I would have to deal with.” She explained.


“You’re very talkative,” I say.


“You’re not.” She responds promptly. “So why aren’t you struggling?” She asks.


“I’m a terrible person,” I respond miserably.


“Well now don’t say that! You’re young, I’m sure you’ve made plenty of mistakes, but

what’s the worst you could have done? Hurt a person?” She laughs at her own joke.


“Multiple,” I say, tucking my head on top of my legs shamefully. She opens her mouth, probably to say something encouraging, but then she processes what I said and immediately closes it.


“Well, that’s an accomplishment.” She replies, matter-of-factly.


“What, hurting someone?” I am very puzzled.


“Nooooooo,” She said, making her voice go up at the end. “Being a strong Witch!”


“I don’t want to be strong, or a Witch! I have amnesia. I only remember a bit about my life as a Witch, and I don’t want to remember anymore!”


“How long have you been living here?”


“A little more than two weeks.”


“Do you like it here?”


“It’s wonderful,” I respond, sort of dreamily. I feel disconnected from my own self.


“Have anything you like to see or do?”


“Gg, my friend, told me about taiyaki. Can I have one of those?”


“Certainly!” She says. She rushes off towards a nearby shop. I see her talking to the man at the counter. Gg tells me he is the owner. He is an old man with speckled white hair on his head and a healthy medium-length beard. He has a very round face and looks very muscular. Well, his arms are. He is tall and he has a rather round stomach. He has very pink and smiley cheeks. He always smiles, and Gg tells me he is a good listener and gives good advice. Then I realized this would be my last request. It’s odd. My body is there, in that cage, but I feel like I am on another planet. A nice cool breeze blows into the black cage. It isn’t a room or anything and It is about as wide as a queen-size bed. It’s not that tall either. My head barely brushes the top. It is a solid top and bottom, with bars as walls. Wait, what was that BANG that woke me? I ask the girl this as she comes back. She hands me a piping hot fish made of bread or pancake batter.


“Oh, that’s what woke you up? Sorry! I dropped a crate of hay on my toe.” She responds.


“Are you okay?”


“Yeah, My toe just hurts.” She admits sheepishly. I reach my hand out of the cage and feel a little tingle as I do. I lightly touch her sneaker. She looks at me in amazement.


“First, you’re not supposed to be able to reach your hand out. Second, You aren’t supposed to be able to do magic, yet my toe feels better than it has ever done, IN MY LIFE!”


“Sorry,” I mumble as I blow on the taiyaki. It’s a bit cooler now. The sky is bright blue, with only a few clouds in the sky.


“Ehm, please don’t escape. I’m going to be fired.” She says.


“Wasn’t planning on it.” I take a bite out of the batterfish. The sweet bean paste which is hidden inside fills my mouth with taste and color, far beyond anything I had tasted before. My face must have lit up because the girl was frowning at me.


“You’re so young.”


“So were the people I unalived.”




“It’s a less serious way of saying killed.”


“Ah. I see” A silence fills the air. “Just so you know, during dinner time, kids will likely come up to you and act like you are an object of amusement. Please don’t be bothered. You’ll be burned at sundown so the light from the fire carries to Mt. Zaman.”


“Mt. Zaman? What’s that?” I ask, even more confused than before.


“It’s where the Witches live,” she replies, putting on her you’re-so-young face. Just then, the clock chimes 5:00 pm and the dinner stores open. First one family comes, then two, and it’s not till the third one when a child gets curious and comes over. I watch her and her brother, I think, cautiously approach me. The girl is bald.


“Hoi!” The little girl greets me. Smile at her. “You’re a big kid!” She exclaims, surveying me.


“Mummy says we shouldn’t go near the adult ones ‘cause they are dangerous!” Her brother chimes in. “Don’t worry, my sissy is called a monster too!” He tells me.


“It’s ‘cause I have no hair! I have a sickness and the treatment makes me lose my hair. I’m getting better though.” I think back to my dream and remember how I made a spell without using my finger. I imagine the circle pattern and focus on it, using up a lot of my energy. I blow her hair back out of her eyes.


“But I love your hair!” I remark. She feels it. I did my best to treat her sickness, and I gave her wavy, curly brown hair like her brother. I made it lighter towards the ends to look like her mother, who has now run towards, squealing in excitement.


“Can I have a balloon animal?”The little boy asks. This time, I draw the circle with my finger. It’s a lot more precise now, and a balloon sword pops out, making the little girl’s brother squeal as well. The wind blows again, and more and more children have begun to approach me. Soon, a crowd has formed, and even the mayor comes out to watch. The mother of the little girl earlier is now telling everyone and anyone about the hair, and even the mayor hears about it. I think I have started a riot. All the people are now angry at the mayor for trying to burn a helpful and young one, but the mayor insists it is all a trick, and that the Witch, me, has put them all under a spell. Malarkey. The night creeps over the horizon, and the stars begin to twinkle like soft light bulbs. Eventually, the girl came back and unlocked the cage. I felt very stiff after sitting in that cage all evening, and I stretched, bringing my arms up to the pitch-black sky. The smell of dinner wafted from all around, and the sounds of the city filled my ears. Actually, It was rather peaceful as I was led up the mound of hay. I still felt dream-like, and I figured it still hadn’t set in yet. The cold night air pushed against the roof of my mouth. The hay felt giving under my feet. I felt as if the only thing holding me up was the rope that bound me to the pole. The mayor came up with a torch to the podium in front of the haystack.


“Let this be a message!” For such a little man, he has a very loud, strong, and commanding voice. “Let this be a message that Witches and Humans shall never make peace and that we, Humans shall prevail!” He bellowed. He threw the lit torch onto the hay, and the world around me erupted with color. Red, white, orange, yellow, and other colors swirled and danced around me. It was gorgeous. The fire reflected off my eyes, and I realized, finally, what was happening.


“NO!” I yelled, the fear in my voice. The smoke engulfed my lungs and made me cough. I was sweating profusely now, the fire licking my heels. “Let this be a sign, a sign of needed peace! Humans and Witches need to have peace! They don’t want to fight!” I needed to get this message through. For a moment, I feared that everyone wouldn’t understand. But, it dawned on me that everyone did, because everyone was staring at me. The fire and the smoke were too much for me, and I could barely see the night sky through the wall of fire engulfing me and drowning me out. Funny. I thought. First I lost my memory by almost drowning, and now I’m being burned. Irony. This was the last thing I thought before my vision was blinded by a bright and vibrant pink. Like a flamingo.



Chapter seven: Flamingo?


I woke up. I WOKE UP??????? Pardon? Did I think that right? No, I must be where people go when they die. No, I could definitely feel and think. I was lying on what seemed to be the softest bed I had ever felt. No, I had felt this bed before, it was the bed I woke up on. The spare bed in Gg’s room. The mattress was, again, a cloud against my aching back, and the blankets felt soft against my, severely, burned skin. Kind but sad chatter floated to me from, I guessed, behind a wall. It was coming from the kitchen. The rays of sunlight beaming down on me, likely from a nearby window, tried to penetrate my eyelids, for the second time, but I could not let them. I knew it, I was dead. Definitely. Totaly. I think. Maybe… Maybe not? My eyelids feel heavy, so heavy, I had to lift my even heavier arms, just to pry them apart. I blinked, letting the non-fire scenery engulf me, lifting me up. My back left the surface of the bed and I sat up. Blinking ever more fiercely. I felt very well rested. Hopefully, I didn’t sleep for a month and a half this time. I thought jokingly. It was a miracle I was alive. How did I do it? I took in my surroundings. It was the same as when I woke up before. The dresser on my right, with Gg’s bed against the right wall. The closet on the wall across from me, the window which poured the light on the right wall above Gg’s bed. The door on the left wall is directly to my left. Clothes littered around the room. Gg’s bed a complete mess. I suppose I couldn’t get all these details before, I was so upset at losing my identity. The smell of Ms. Evann’s favorite Beebreeze sprayed around the room. Way better than smoke. I thought. It was some sort of flower. I slid out of the bed and peered out of the door. They were in the kitchen, eating breakfast. I crept downstairs, making sure to not make a sound. The couch came into view, and the smell of bacon wafted through the air and into my nose. A peaceful bird sang outside somewhere, and the soft chatter continued. I stopped there for a moment, standing still, closing my eyes, and letting the peace engulf me. Then, I continued forward. I was still tired, but eager to see their reactions when I scared them. Hopefully, I am not a ghost.


“What do you want to do this weekend?” Ms. Evanns asked.


“Sit at home and mope that Lux hasn’t woken up yet,” Alice responded miserably.


“Oh come on, they’ll wake up at some point!” Gg said consolingly


“But what if they die, like Dad?” Alice persisted.


“Oh, don’t think like that!” Liam protested.


“Yeah, that is how you lose hope!” Gg agreed.


“Yeah, you shouldn’t think badly! Have more faith in me!” I said, leaning into the room. The others jumped, and Liam fell off his chair. Everything went into pandemonium. Alice cried that she was so happy I was awake and that I was a better brother than Gg. Gg ran up to me and hugged me, saying that his crush in school actually recognized his existence, and went on about an explosion of some sorts. Liam started talking about how it was lonely without me because I was a really good listener. Ms. Evanns started crying, saying she thought I would die too, and we all ran over and comforted her. Then, after everything calmed down, we made sure Mom- ahem sorry, -Ms. Evanns was safely on the couch with a weighted blanket, and an Alice to snuggle, and I had them explain everything.


“So, the Mayor threw the fire into the hay, right? And we all thought you were going to die? Well, when no one could see you through the wall of fire anymore, a giant flash of vibrant flamingo-colored lightning flashed through the sky and hit the pole. Then, someone shouted: They’re gone! And everyone looked up in time to see you multiple stories up into the sky, and falling fast. Then, right as you were about to hit the pole, a ball or vibrant flamingo-colored energy or magic formed into a sphere around you, and then there was a shockwave when the pole pierced the sphere. I don’t know how, but I managed to catch you before you hit the ground!” Gg explained.


“After everyone realized what happened, a riot started, and a week later, the mayor was demoted! He doesn’t work in the government anymore!” Liam interjected. “People heard what you said, and they are now communicating with the Witches to get peace!” Alice exclaimed. A rush of joy and relief ran through me. They then went on to explain how Mary forgives me, but Cari has to think about it (I was relieved.) The familiar people around my age I had seen were the other Agents, and Gg’s classmates (what a coincidence!). I was starting school in a week. (exciting!) Gg was allowed to stay as an Agent. (I am happy for him!). Finally, no matter the background or the race, we were all going to be equal!


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