It was Friday, my favorite day of the week. Most sixteen year olds would say so because it was the last day before the weekend. That’s not my reason, although that is a nice bonus. The real reason I love Fridays was because my cousin Ethan had wrestling practice after school. That meant I could go to the library without having to deal with him when I got back home.
I carefully stepped around a puddle in the alley. I liked to take what I called the “back road” to the East River Library. I have sensitive ears, and living in Manhattan, New York made the problem and ever-present setback.
So, to deal with this, I used the alleys, where the buildings were thick barriers between me and potential headaches. I could also go anywhere I wanted. Usually. That one day in September I wasn’t so lucky.
As I continued down the cement path, a shadowy figure stepped out from the dark.
“Hey, kitten,” a high nasal voice drawled. “Going to take a nap? Or shred some curtains?”
A few goons that had joined him snickered. Kyle Worrad was the resident troublemaker in this area, with him and his gang running around in the alleys. I usually am able to avoid them, but not today. “I wouldn’t be so sure of yourself, Kyle,” I told him. “You have plenty of enemies, don’t you?”
“Why not, kitten? Are you going to run to your mommy?” He gave me a sadistic smile. “Oh, wait, that’s right. She’s dead.”
That was Kyle’s favorite insult, and it never stung any less. The constant pounding in my ears increased to a roar. I clenched my fists. A freezing wind started to seep into the alley, rustling my light brown hair. The chill didn’t bother me, though; it never had.
I was about to turn Kyle and his gang into popsicles when I heard my mother’s voice. Resist it. The call is strong in you, I know. But the humans mustn’t… Her soft voice calmed so of the rising storm inside of me.
But not enough. “What is it, kitten?” Kyle asked, arranging his face to one of mock sympathy. “Are you going to cry?” He spat out the last word.
My fragile hold cracked.
The wind started to swirl even faster. I could see my reflection in the glasses perched upon Kyle’s crooked nose. My eyes, normally blue, had turned to a glowing silver. Kyle took a step back, followed by the other boys.
“Do you want to know a secret?” I whispered. My anger swirled around, rising, drowning out the warning calls of my mother in the gathering blizzard.
Kyle looked at me. Fear was painted across his cold brown eyes and face. “N-no,” he stuttered, the force of the wind knocking him back several more steps. His black hair, which usually hung in his eyes, was blown back, giving him a sort of crown, like a cobra.
I raised my hand in front of me and opened it. Blue flames danced across my palm. “Then don’t bother me, or anyone else, again,” I growled. “Or I will here about it. And I will find you.”
The boys nodded frantically. Then they turned, and as a group, stumbled away. In their haste, Kyle was tripped and he scuffed his palms on the ground. Throwing one last look of terror at me, he ran.
I watched them dart away, taking deep breaths to draw the storm back inside of me. The ice that had begun to spread from my feet slowly disappeared, and the wind calmed till it was normal again. I closed my fist and lowered it, snuffing out the flame, and stuffed my hands in the pocket of my blue hoodie.
That was close. If they hadn’t run away, I don’t know what I would’ve done.
There was a sharp intake of breath from behind me. Aw, ****, I thought, turning.
What I saw was something I never expected to see. The prettiest girl at my school, St. Xavier’s, Klissa Serendale, stood holding two Starbucks cups, gaping at me. Her usually straight dark brown hair was blown back by the wind, and her green eyes shone with disbelief.
“Alex…?” she asked uncertainly.
“Uh, hi, Klissa,” I stammered. My tongue felt tied up. How do you talk to your crush? I glanced behind me, overwhelmed with the desire to be somewhere, anywhere, but here. “Um…bye?” I turned and ran. Maybe if I’d stopped to think, I would’ve wondered why she carried two cups instead of one.
I reached the glass doors of the library, yanking it open and shutting it firmly behind me. “Trouble with the gang?” asked a sympathetic voice. I turned, steadying my breaths as I offered Mr. Kai Stormwen a weak smile.
“No. Just trying to make sure I won’t.” I walked toward the kind, elderly librarian, who had a certain fondness for Werther’s caramel bites. “Do you have any new books for me?” I asked eagerly, hoisting my backpack higher up on my shoulders.
Mr. Kai returned my smile. “Yes,” he said, turning around to search the counter behind him. “It’s something you might be interested in. An old chap of mine gave it to me; no one could really figure it out. Might have something to do with your little obsession, though.” Mr. Kai winked at me as he handed the book to me.
“Thanks!” I told him as I took it. The book was wrapped in leather, with gleaming gold engravings etched on the cover that read:
The runes in my native tongue, Valespeech, slowly rearranged themselves to say:
I felt my heart speed up. Allendale meant guardian in the Ancient tongue, which even I didn’t speak. It was similar to how Latin was a ‘dead language’ for humans; you know the meaning, but you don’t say things in the tongue commonly.
Mr. Kai’s warm laugh shook me from my reverie. “No problem,” he told me.
I grinned at him before I made my way over to the reading area. A grouping of large brown chairs and couches were arranged around a large bay window, overlooking the East River. The sight wasn’t the prettiest, though; basically being sludge and trash that drifted in a current out of sheer stubbornness.
My usual seat was closest to the window. It reminded me of my former home.
Before it was gone.
I shook the thought away and shrugged my backpack off, dropping it on the seat next to me. I sat down and opened the book eagerly.
The book told stories of the three Allendales of our world: the Moon Fairy, the Elf, and the Siren. The guarded our world.
The Moon Fairy was a young woman who brought a new meaning to “Forever 21.” She had long, wavy black hair, and violet eyes. The Moon Fairy had lavender-purple butterfly wings as well. Once every century, she would come down from her floating palace and grant one wish.
I bet she could get rid of Ethan for me, I thought wryly. My cousin could be a jerk sometimes, but he still was family. So I was just kidding.
The second Allendale was the Elf. She looked about fifteen, with long blond hair and blue eyes. Her ears were tapered into points as well. The Elf would show up sporadically in mysterious places, and she would cure sickness and disease. After she finished, she’d dart away, faster for anyone’s eyes to follow. In her place would grow a sparkling teal lily the exact same shade as her eyes.
The final Allendale was the Siren. He stood in the center of the floating island Moyvena, singing to the sun, moon and stars. He had tousled brown hair and eyes that were as golden as the rising sun. His voice could be heard for miles around. If you were lucky enough to find him and survive the island’s treacherous outer ring, the Siren would trap your nightmares.
I wonder if the Moon Fairy could bring someone back from the dead, too, I thought. Like my parents.
My parents died when I was thirteen. Our house in Maine had burned down, and they had been trapped inside it. I remember the suffocating smoke and blinding flames. The panic and fear.
I’d tried to use my powers to put the flames out. Instead, I’d called a blizzard, making it harder and delaying the first-responding forces that could’ve helped.
If I’d had more control, maybe I could’ve saved them.
I can still hear the first chimes of the elevator when I first came to Manhattan. Ethan’s bright smile, only a year older than I and charmingly naive.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, I have a gift. Me and my parents were part of one of the five Aires, which roughly translates from Valespeech to “Upper” or “Higher,” as well as “House.” The Aires were the Zaran, the storm and ice bringers; the Karan, the fire and heat bringers; the Wyren, the wind controllers; the Erthan, the healers and earth shakers; and the Strom, the masters of the sea.
I was part of the Zaran, meaning I had power over ice, hail, snow, and winter storms. So kind of like a male Elsa, I guess.
I hate that movie.
The thing that intrigued me most about the book, though, was that the book said the Allendales were guardians.
So what were they guarding us from?