This story is by Ester and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Not their forest. The childhood clubhouses destroyed in minutes. The animal trails burned away. Crystal’s body shook with grief and anger. Her sister reached out to her, but she turned away from her. Shula should have felt the forest being burned. Shula should have called her.
Crystal welcomed the stinking of the salty tears.
“I’m going to call the national rangers.” Shula said.
Crystal mumbled okay. The blackened charcoal crunched under her sister’s feet.
Nothing showed who did this. If her sister couldn’t bring life back to the forest, then fire magic was used. All her work to create a hiding place sealed beneath the black ground. How could sister not feel nature died away?
Crystal lifted her arm. A colorful sphere formed in her hand. She might be able to track the person who did it. And make them pay. Why work so hard and let it go?
Crystal focused herself and let sphere split and go. The spheres searching the forest. Once done, she rejoined the magic into her body and energy.
With hands in her pocket, face turned around, she walked back to her childhood home. She crossed the street that separated the forest from the small neighborhood. The street saved their house from burning.
She paused before the fence. The fruit trees stood proudly in the backyard. They were branches when dad planted them. A time that was forever ago. She never cared much about the trees and flower life around the house. She just wanted to enjoy their beauty, not take care of them. Thankfully, when powers emerged from people, Shula got plant life.
Those days were hard, but they survived. Chaos swept the cities. The location of their house was perfect. The forest helped them hide and was a great place to practice their powers safely. She gave all her time and happiness to her family. Gave all so that the family would survive.
Crystal lifted her head and hurried to the house. That evening, she met Shula’s soulmate, the one that completed her. Now it was just her and Daniel single. The oldest and youngest.
Still, it was most likely that Daniel would find his soulmate, then her. Her life was here, protecting the family. Congratulating everyone else on their live moments.
They had a feast with everyone chatting, Victor interrogating the fiance, and herself smiling at the right times. After Crystal cleaned the kitchen on autopilot and left her siblings talking with Shula’s fiance in the living room. She went to room. She shuffled onto the bed and curled herself around a pillow.
What am I doing? Crying for not having a soulmate. And how long was she willing to wait a decade? A hundred years? Two hundred? Definitely not a thousand. To find the one. He had to be somewhere in the world. But happiness doesn’t come from just being in love. She knew that in her mind, so why could her heart understand that?
Happiness can come from the present moments. Family. There were nieces and nephews she enjoyed teaching how to control their powers. It was unanimous that she would teach magic control and Shula elementary classes. Her heart’s desires shouldn’t matter until she could create away from her family to be safe from the world.
The next morning. The doorbell rang.
It was a national park ranger. Crystal and Shula led the ranger, Rowan, to the charcoaled ground. He looked it over and they told him how to bring his vehicle to the back street. They left him alone and went back to the house to do their own thing.
Later that evening.
“You’re right. It was done with magic. I believe nothing can grow at all. At least for a hundred years. It went down deep. I’m going to report this to MIST,” Rowan said.
What. Crystal’s eyes darted to Shula. Shula’s face paled. They didn’t need the Magic Investigation, Service, and Team here. Who knew what they would do with immortals? Everyone here being unregistered magic users would bring up many questions. Their safe place destroyed.
“What are you going to do next? After speaking with MIST?” Crystal asked.
“If they want my help. I’ll help with the investigation. With a full team, I can do a full analysis.”
This is bad. Shula shouldn’t have called the rangers. Voices came from the hallway. A plan formed. Crystal rushed out of the living room to Victor and everyone and told them what was happening.
Victor hurried it into the living room.
“Rowan, welcome. I’m sorry, but do you have to call MIST.” Victor said.
Her sister-in-law moved behind the man and meddled with his head.
“I’ll be able to help.” She stepped forward.
“How?” Rowan asked.
“I had my power scan and picked up on the energies.”
“What.” Victor hissed.
“And that can track the power that was used?” Rowan asked.
“I believe so.” Crystal said.
“Great. I would love to get the person.” Rowan said. “Let’s go.”
“Thank you.” Shula said as she and the ranger left the house.
They got into the jeep. With care, Crystal created a trail only for her to see and led Rowan through the streets after it. They arrived at a large parking lot near the river. There were three black vehicles near a large yacht.
A man appeared out of nowhere. Her skin tingled with energy.
“What are we going to do? We can’t confront them. We don’t have powers.” Rowan said.
As she got out of the jeep, she turned to him.
“What do you remember from the conversion at our house?” She asked.
Lines cover his face as he thought. Good. He was forgetting. Just a few more minutes and he would no nothing.
“I was checking the burned forest.”
“Okay, bye.” She left.
Crystal scanned the black vehicles. Men were walking around now. Her skin crawled like ants.
Being ninety years old didn’t mean she had overcome her twenties problems. She was young for her life if she lived up to a thousand years. She walked towards them.
The air tingled with salt from the river.
Crystal stopped when the men realized she was coming to them. Too close for them. Her power pulsed inside of her. The energy blew across her skin.
“What the hell do you want?” A man asked.
“Some of you burned my forest.” She said and let some of her magic loose. It moved and wrapped around the men who burned the forest.
They slapped at the magic and mumbled.
“What the hell?” A man said. And several of them pointed guns at her.
“There were houses in the forest. There could have been people inside.”
“They deserved it. Get the hell out bitch.” someone shouted.
What? Her body recoiled with disgust. Murders. They wanted to kill someone that live there.
A man launched black lines of arrows at her. She threw up her hand to form a shield. Shouts arose. Others attacked.
A noise pierced the air. Like a siren. She looked up. A helicopter. Who the hell was that?
“This is MIST. Stop the attack.” A voice boomed from above.
Her power burned in her. Her soulmate was in the helicopter. She had a soulmate. And he was MIST! O, hell no. He can’t know about her gift or her family.
The shield wavered. Just a second.
The black arrows and other magic pierced her body. The shield disappeared.
“No,” a voice called out.
Before her body hit the floor, someone grabbed her in their arms. Her other half. He was handsome. Her eyes fluttered closed.
“Stay with me. Don’t go.” He pleaded.
He can’t know what my power is. But her body burned from the inside. Her mind was slipping away. Protect her family rang in her mind. But she could finally be free from them with him. A deadly thought came. With a thought, she sent a message to her family. She would have her happily ever after. With a smile on her face, her mind went blank.
I’ve found my soulmate and all of you no longer need me. I’ve taught you all I know, so go on living the good life with each other. Live in the happy moments.