Touched With Flame

Dec. 20, 2018
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Average Rating: 2.5
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I can't see anything as they push me on the bus. Nothing, my world is nothing but dim, blurred shapes. They took my glasses. I stumble on the stairs, and someone farther back snickers. I flush, and bite my tongue. Determined not to show that it bothers me--not that I'm successful. My face is most likely a shade of red comparable to a brick wall. It doesn't help that I stumble yet again on my way to an empty seat, as the person behind walks into me. I sit down as close to the front--and as far away from the others--as I can, and stare straight out the windshield. Eyes forward, face blank as a fresh sheet of paper.

I try not to think about where the bus is headed, the people behind me, or why I am even here. Instead I force myself to focus on something, anything, else. I focus on the sound of the rain hitting the roof like pellets. I focus on the streaks and shadows the drops make as they beat and stream on the windshield. I focus on the new clothes they forced me in, the itchy gray jumpsuit, and the underwear that either barely fits, or makes me feel like I'm swimming. Yeah, they wouldn't even let me take that. Nothing from "outside" is allowed, not glasses, not meds, not clothes, not even your bloody underwear. Anything is too much, too risky. We could be hiding things, the things could have some special design. Something only we, the owners, know about. Personally I think the chances of that are astronomically low, most people can't afford that kind of customization. A few can, though, and a few is still enough. Where we're headed, though, it's not like it will matter. Those of us they know of, will have our Abilities nullified, if possible. Those they don't... well, it's not like we'd be able to do much anyways.

I hear a clacking, stuttering sound, and then the engine comes to life. The bus starts moving with a jerk. Thinking about clothes is too close to what I'm trying to avoid, but I've run out of distractions. I swallow, suddenly feeling nauseous. I don't get carsick; it's from nerves. I stare out the window, choosing to watch empty, gray buildings rather than the burly security guard standing easily at the front of the bus. Rather  than watching my companions, the other condemned, sitting behind me. I was almost the last one on.

Eventually, though, we leave the city, and even that small distraction fades into the distance. All the view offers now is empty wheat fields on all sides, except when they're broken by a house, road, or driveway. There's muttering and talking behind me, too quiet to understand. They probably don't want the security to hear. Or maybe they're just as nervous as I am. Somehow, I doubt it. 

We're the dangerous ones, the ones not safe enough to live with normal society. Crazy, unstable, out of control. A lot of the people here with me are criminals, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they all were. Every one of us is someone with an ability, one they can't control, or one that's dangerous and, or, has been used to harm others. A lot of us have intentionally hurt people this way, and here I can't help but include myself. Even though what I did was an accident. Even though I never meant to... to do anything at all, really. In fact I've almost never even used my ability. I've managed to keep it hidden, for at least sixteen years. That was hard enough, and it's no wonder I lost control of it so easily. 

My ability, fire, is one of the hardest to control, even when you've practiced with it your whole life. And I haven't practiced at all. 

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A little cliche, but I'd love to read more
van rated this work:

Feb. 1, 2019, 12:15 a.m.

This gives me "The Darkest Minds" kinds of vibes. Or "The Program." Or maybe "X-Men." It's interesting, but I feel like I've read it before, you know? It's the beginning of the story, so I think you should really hone in on making it surprising and different. I'm sure it is and there are cool aspects to it, you just need to bring them out more! There's a lot of stories with the "people with special abilities get caged in a dystopia" plot, but you've got good images and solid writing (I LOVED "face blank as a fresh sheet of paper") so I can tell you've got something unique-- you just have to show it off more!

I like the ending! It makes me curious about why she hasn't practiced, what the repercussions of her not practicing are. It opens the story to so many awesome possibilities.

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