Chapter Twenty-One: Flames

The night began with a campfire. I had watched in awe as Jazz brought flame to life, using just her hands, and then transferred it to the kindling. For a moment I had felt as if I was standing behind the glass of a television and watching special effects in motion. I even reached out to touch the flame, as if to make sure it was real. Thankfully, Josh had grabbed my hand and prevented me from burning myself.

Now, we were all seated around the fire, the light sparkling in all of our eyes as we watched the flames lick the brushwood, setting the night aglow. Everyone looked more comfortable than I had seen them in a while. I was starting to understand just how hard it must be for them to keep their secrets for this long. I'd only had this problem for a couple of weeks. They had dealt with this for most of their lives. Out here in the shelter of trees, away from prying eyes, they could be their true selves.

"So your ability is to create fire?" I asked as Jazz sat down across the fire from me.

"And manipulate it," she added, and with the flick of hand the fire grew in height. Soon there was a swirling mass of flames well above the line of the trees. She only kept it up there a moment before lowering it and then giving control back over to the flames.

"Whoa," was about the only intelligent thing I could say.

"You didn't have to make it that high, you know. She probably would have been just as amazed if you had kept it beneath the tree line," Rex huffed.

"Oh please, like you're not just dying to show off," Jazz crossed her legs and rolled her eyes.

"I'll take that as an invitation," he stood and smiled from where he sat next to her. Jazz opened her mouth to protest, but it was too late. Rex had opened his arms towards the sky and within a matter of moments the clouds above us had gathered to dump a significant amount of water on our heads. It only took him a second to stop the downpour. The once roaring fire, in front of us, was now nothing more than soggy and steaming wood. Jazz sent him a glare and mumbled something along the lines of "I hate it when he does that," before setting to work on evaporating the water from the soaked fire pit.

"I'll admit I'm impressed," I said, wringing what water I could out of my shirt, as Rex took his seat, a smug expression on his face. "Can you control any other weather?"

"No," he shook his head, "What I actually control is water molecules. With the help of someone who can control wind I could probably create a hurricane though."

"His little sister can actually change the temperature of water though, it's amazing," Brent said from my right side.

"Yeah, we actually have a little problem with that," Rex smiled, "it's hard to explain why our entire front yard gets covered in ice from time to time… or why it snows at the oddest times of the year."

"Wow, so your younger siblings are getting these powers too? When did everyone here get theirs?" I looked around the circle.

"George, Jazz, Brent, and Marci didn't get theirs until they moved here," Derek answered. "They are also the only one's whose parents haven't developed powers. We think that you might have to come to this town before a certain age to gain these powers. Rex, Jennifer, Josh, and myself have had these powers since we were about four or five. Our families have lived in this town for generations."

"So it is something about this town…" I said. Score one for Brown and me.

"Yes, but it also must have something to do with genetics. Not everyone in this town has these powers. It's only a select few," Derek said.

"What I don't understand is how these powers can even exist… Isn't this type of thing for books and movies?" I asked.

"Like Derek said," Josh spoke up, "we think it has something to do with genetics. If it was an outside source, like perhaps a toxin in the town's water supply, more people would be affected. And if it was contagious like a virus, once again, more people would have it. It is possible that it is some form of hereditary disease or even a mutation that just causes these abilities. I prefer to think of it as a mutation, disease has more of a… malignant connotation."

"So, something about this town is like a catalyst for this mutated gene, or disease to do its work?"

"That's what we think. We've only just recently begun to research this. When our ancestors first began to gain these abilities, they assumed it was some type of witchcraft, or sorcery instead of trying to find a scientific explanation. A few people even went as far as to describe us as walking Gods. Now we have a little more sense, and thankfully a little more technology to help us," Josh finished and I could only nod. This was a lot of information to take in at once.

"So… do you mind asking if I can see what else you guys can do?" I asked after a bit of silence.

"I thought you'd never ask," Jennifer smiled. She didn't rise from the blanket she sat on next to the fire. Instead, she closed her eyes and let her hand reach out to the forest on her left. After a moment, I was tempted to ask what she was doing, but a great creaking noise echoed through the clearing. For a moment I thought a tree was falling over, but then I realized it was only leaning. The tree was tilting its own trunk so that it could lift its roots out of the ground. Then, the tree began to move, pulling itself by its roots across the ground. Jennifer let it wander for a bit before bringing it back to torn ground it came from. Jennifer then opened her eyes and let out a deep breath.

"I can basically manipulate anything that goes through photosynthesis and has roots," she said with a tired smile. The manipulation looked like it took a little bit out of her.

"My turn," Brent grinned, also not leaving his chair. Instead, he closed his eyes for a moment and then slumped over. I stared at him for a good while before turning to Derek.

"His power is to fall asleep instantly?" I asked.

"Not exactly," Derek was grinning and shaking his head.


"Behind you," a voice whispered in my ear. I leapt from seat as my heart practically exploded from chest and a small yelp left my lips. I turned to see Brent standing behind my foldable chair. When I turned towards the fire, Brent's slumped over body was still there.

"What on earth?" I turned around and reached out to touch him, but he vanished before my hand even reached him. I swiveled around and Brent's body was now upright and he had awoken. "What was that?"

"Astral projection," Brent said, amused by my confusion, "I can separate my body from my "astral body", or what you might call a soul. I guess you could call it an out of body experience." Wow, I had seen all of these people create something, but to actually see someone separate himself into two bodies… or whatever they were was amazing.

"What about you George?" I asked, noticing he looked a little bored.

"Oh, I can hear things from really far away. Not exactly something I can demonstrate too well," he smiled, "but don't worry, you'll see some day," he winked.

"I'm telekinetic," Marci said as my eyes found her. "I can move things with my mind. For the sake of demonstration, she lifted George into the air. Somehow, while falling back down, he ended up face down in his chair. "Oops," Marci smiled, "I still have a few things to work on." Obviously, I thought and I noticed Josh smile at me out of the corner of my eye. Of course everyone was laughing, but he seemed to be more amused at something besides George grumbling.

"What?" I questioned. I still wasn't quite sure what to think of Josh.

"I can read minds," he said and I blanched. Oh dear, what had he heard me thinking?

"Don't worry," Josh laughed, "I've got it down to an art, I only listen when it's necessary… or if I'm bored and in Government class," he added, and I felt slightly more at ease. Only slightly.

"What about you Derek?" he was the only person who seemed a little reluctant to speak up about himself.

"It's kind of hard to describe. I have the power to use other people's powers. I have to be in range of that person though. I couldn't hear really long distances if George was too far away. But if I want to, and I'm close enough, I can reach out my power to him and then use his power," he explained.

"So, have all of you always been able to control your powers like this?" I asked a question that had been on my mind for quite some time. "If you haven't noticed, I'm having a big problem with that."

"All of us have gone through a lot of training to get where we are today," Rex spoke from across the fire. "After your meeting with the council, you will most likely be offered training."

"Wait… meeting with the council?" I looked over to Derek.

"Yeah, both you and your brother are going to have to appear before the council. Don't worry; it's nothing scary. They just need to know a little more about the people that are keeping all of our secrets. Also, they can help answer the questions you have and, like Rex said, train you. Right now, in this early stage you both don't have very much control and this can be dangerous to both you and the people around you," Derek explained.

"And the council is made up of your parents?"

"The council is made up of the parents of the original families to experience these abilities," said Derek with a nod.

"Do any parents that don't have powers know about this?"

"I'm the only one whose parents don't know…" Brent spoke before Derek could.

"It's up to you if you do or don't," Derek gave Brent a sympathetic look. "If you do decide to tell them, it is recommended that you have one of the council members with you to… contain the situation, should it get out of hand…"

"What exactly does containing the situation entail?" I asked warily.

"Usually it just means making sure the parents don't get too excited, but there are other times where adults have trouble processing the idea of powers and can't handle it."

"My dad tried to call the police at first," George smiled, "some good that did with the great Landon Stone working as the sheriff of the town." Stone… that was Derek's last name… So Landon had to be the fourth brother. I wondered why he hadn't been at Derek's party with the other brothers. Maybe he wasn't a fan of underage drinking, being the sheriff and all.

I could worry about that later though. I had to wonder if I would be able to my parents. Brown would probably insist that we do. My dad wouldn't take it too bad. He'd be confused at first, but if presented with the facts he could come to understand it. It was my mom I was worried about. She wasn't exactly someone who was a fan of things that were out of her control; Brown and I having crazy powers was definitely not something within her control. Heck, it was barely in our control right now.

Marci and Jazz were sharing the stories of telling their parents, when I noticed Brent leaving the campfire. I had to wonder why his parents didn't know. Had he made an attempt to tell them? Or maybe he was too scared to. As much as I tried to, I couldn't remember what Brent's parents were like. I'd met them once back when we went to school together. They had come to a band concert he and I were both in. I could remember what they looked like, and how much Brent resembled them, but that was about it.

"Are you tired?" a voice brought me out of my thoughts.


"You just looked like you were falling asleep there for a moment," Josh commented quietly.

"No, I'm just thinking. This is a lot to take in."

"The council will probably give you a couple of days before they summon you. We haven't really told them what is going on… Derek wanted us to be sure you actually had a power. So we'll tell them on Sunday, when we get home, about you two."

"That's good. Both of us are probably going to need some time."

"Don't worry," his hazel eyes held mine for a brief moment, "it's a big adjustment, but you'll get used to it. Everyone here will help you."

"Thanks, I'll remember that," I smiled, but for some reason, as I pulled my eyes away from his I remembered the dark figure standing outside my window. Maybe help wasn't something that was on everyone's mind. I knew I should bring up the murders, and ask them if they knew what was going on. But, as I watched everyone smile and laugh at their happy memories… I just couldn't be the one to knock those smiles off their faces. Besides it probably wasn't something to be discussed with the entire group. I guess tomorrow, it would be time to see if Derek was going to be true to his word and actually give me answers to my questions. I just hoped that those questions weren't something I would regret…

Woohoo! Look! It's another chapter! I didn't torture you and make you wait a whole month for another one! This chapter was the official chapter that burned down my crazy wall of writer's block! huzzah! Expect another chapter soon ;)

Xenell- I'm glad you liked it! And I'm so glad you're still reading! Thanks so much for reviewing!

Garneau- Thank you so much for your criticism. I just recently looked back on that chp twenty and realized you are definitely right! When it comes time for the first major edit I will definitely be breaking up Derek's speech to make it a little more fluid and less of a big overwhelming chunk.
Thanks for reading and reviewing! Your comments always encourage me to write another chapter quickly. Thank you again!

P.S. REVIEWS ARE THE BEST! AND SO ARE REVIEWERS! Don't YOU want to be the best? :)