This story is by Vince Alvarez Jr and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Despite the cool weather, the conversation Evelynne was having with Mason was warm. They’ve talked about magic tests in the past, but today they’re finally walking over to the spellcaster. Evelynne will be able to determine how she can use her magic for the first time. She can start on her own path of choosing a career with her magic. This major step in her life never felt more real. Each step embracing a more filling breath.
The cold air never seemed to bother her as much as today as she took it all in, staring at a billboard above the spellcaster’s house. The billboard had names written on them, one of them would decide how she would be categorized among a broad range of magic. She looked at each of the words in detail, only a few of them were magic specialties that she would be delighted to have. The way they can help others with magic in such a way no one else can, she couldn’t help but smile. She looked above it and read the word dragon. The way it was carved made her stomach turn. The word itself was worn and mold began to form. Dragons, those who have such incredible amounts of magic that they can’t control once their magic forms are opened. How they have consumed other magic wielders with a snap of a finger. She shivers at their rare history.
“Evelynne,” Mason said, staring at her with those green eyes he used to stare at her with when they were little.
“Sorry what was the question?”
“I asked if you wanted to go first. I’m still a little nervous.” He placed his hands behind his head. The same move he would always make when he was extremely nervous.
Evelynne nodded, leaving him a smile as she entered the door. The dim lighting was the first thing she recognized. Then a young woman turned the corner smiling at Evelynne. Evelynne could now feel what Mason felt as she tried to steady her shaking hands.
“Relax,” the woman said, “everything will be ok, just sit and close your eyes, I’ll do the rest.”
Evelynne followed instructions trying not to make a sound. The chair was cold despite the candles that lit the room. She took a deep breath, reminding herself of the stories her parents told her of when they got their magic to awaken. She could feel the spellcasters presence even without opening her eyes as if the magic was weaning off of the experienced magic wielder. Evelynne noticed the extra breaths it took as she tried to calm down. Then she felt her magic almost burst out of her, a floodgate opening after so long.
Evelynne felt her shoulders fall, her breath pacing itself. Her hands steady on the cold leather of her chair. She heard the spellcaster let out a soft breath and Evelynne couldn’t help herself. She opened her eyes to find small drops of water floating in the air. Drops of water that contained fire in them, like if they each had a life. Evelynne couldn’t hold back her tears at the sheer beauty of what she created. Time stopped just for her, just for this moment.
“Dragon,” came out of the pale woman’s lips.
The drops of water and fire were still in the air. Evelynne was still calm, her shoulders were finally slouched after an eternity’s unrest. She was at ease with her magic that filled the room. Despite all of this, with that one word, the world was changed. Like a shift, where she finally noticed the true elements around her. Everything seemed darker, the spellcaster’s eyes seemed even more horrified than imaginable. Everything was now against her.
Before anything more could be said, Evelynne ran out of the room, running past Mason’s pacing patterns. She came to the lake, the same lake she and Mason would always go to when they were in trouble. Whether they were depressed, angry, afraid, this was the lake. The same fish would stare at her every time. Mason’s footsteps grew closer as she tried to contain herself. She almost laughed, those footsteps seemed to be more familiar to her than her own.
“What happened?” Was all he asked. He knew better than to say more.
The time was the biggest part of the conversation. She let it sink into her brain, that word. The word she would forever be marked as. She let it sink in that those fish staring back at her were looking at a dragon this entire time. She didn’t want to accept it, but when she was finally able to muster her voice, she turned to look at him.
“I’m a dragon, Mason,” was all she said before she had to look away again.
Time continued to eat at the conversation. This part of the conversation, however, had silence and suspense gnawing at her. She could even see a small fire forming in the lake. A bright light that seemed to comfort the fish, like if it were to say ‘Hi, can we be friends?’
She couldn’t help herself, she had to look back at him.
She couldn’t see his green eyes anymore. They were just eyes to her now, ones that she couldn’t find a history of. His face was of shock as he took each breath. Not of horrors like the spellcaster, or sadness like Evelynne, just pure shock. Like a monster was right in front of her.
Lower than a whisper he said “What?” His breathing seemed to go at a faster pace, and his voice was rising along with it. “How? What do you mean a dragon?! Do you know how dangerous that is?! Hell, I’m the one that told you how dangerous they were, what were you thinking, getting close to me and my family?!” The conversation began to become more one-sided as he grew more skeptical and more worrisome of the situation. “You need to leave this village immediately, I don’t want to see you again.” was all he said towards the end of it all.
Evelynne could only cry. As he continued to scream at her, all she could do was look for a sliver of those green eyes that always held joy and nerves. She was waiting for a ‘sorry’ or an ‘it’s going to be ok.’ With all the magic she had, she couldn’t stop her crying. All she could do was turn back to the lake, on her knees, and let her emotions take control of her. When the tears were running dry, when Mason was still there trying to bring together the pieces, Evelynne could see the fire in the lake grow. When her parents came into her thoughts, when the villagers’ faces were in her thoughts, the fire grew bigger. Their lives were at stake. How long has she been such a danger to all of them? What have they done to be threatened like this?
It wasn’t until the fish confronted the fire that both the fish and Evelynne knew, it wasn’t a friendly fire. It didn’t want to be embraced. It burned everything in its path and not even the fish could swim away when most of the lake became consumed by her magic. Everything she saw became this flame.
Mason, where’s Mason? Evelynne stood, sprinting to the village only to stop after a few steps. He was always a passive person, never wanting to intervene. But this newfound absence told Evelynne what he couldn’t tell out of the good of his heart. She is a danger to many, and to go back as if nothing happened would only lead to death. Whether that be Mason’s or her own.
A mythical monster, that’s what dragon means. To be consumed by their own power and be driven by only that. In terms of magic, it was no myth. She could sense that there was more than just fear and uncontrollable power that was tied to the word dragon. It was isolation. Her final steps in the ash-ridden village were departing ones of a monster.