The Fabulously Underwhelming Life of Aistyn Messand

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The Fabulously Underwhelming Life of Aistyn Messand

 

Waking up with a headache was bad enough. Falling off the bed only made it worse.

Calico the – duh – calico cat leapt down from the mahogany bedside table, padded over to Aistyn, and then meowed seven times. Yeah, other people had cuckoos for alarm clocks, she had a cat.

Ugh, I am sooo going be late, thought Aistyn. Again.

She scratched Calico’s chin and then stood up. She got herself ready for school so fast that it seemed she had been possessed by a demon. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder and yelling “Bye, Cali!” over the other, Aistyn then rushed out of the house, tripping over some loose stones all the while, and finally heading to school. She could’ve just teleported instead, as it would have been way faster, but she hadn’t quite mastered the skill yet. Unlike her schoolmates, there was a big chance that Aistyn would have simply ended up lost in the middle of nowhere.

Aistyn stopped at the school’s entrance, heaving like a fish. She looked up at the giant golden plaques right by the gates, and admired the way the sun’s rays reflected off the imposing, beautifully polished metal. The plaques have always caught her eye – never ceased to amaze her. They read:

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“What else are you waiting for, Miss? You’re already running late as it is,” said a sinewy guard, gently stroking the green fur of some sort of a cat with leathery wings and webbed feet. The cat-slash-dragon-slash-duck glanced at Aistyn and puffed out a thin stream of white-hot flame. “See, even Mr. Ezra Snuffles agrees with me,” the guard added, the skin at the corner of his eyes crinkling as he spoke with a grin.

“I– I , uh,” stammered Aistyn, startled. The guard grinned again and simply let Aistyn make her way past him.

Aistyn hurried off to class, very well aware that she was at least ten minutes late after a brief look at her watch. She ran towards the Science building, biting back something vulgar – less of an effort at decency, and more of an attempt to catch her breath. Why did the school have to be so large anyway? It’s not like they’re having trouble with accommodating the kids.

As Aistyn approached the lab with the green door – she was not going to make that mistake again (long story) – she heard a FWOOOOOM as if a large flame was suddenly going up. She walked hurriedly through the otherwise silent hallway and opened the lab door to a bunch of kids coughing and covered in ash, Prof. Regan – sans eyebrows – looking bewildered, and thick smoke pouring out through the windows.

“Glad you could join us, Miss Messand,” greeted the professor curtly. “Now, can anyone explain to me how this capsule of compressed bewitched gas ended up in this laboratory?”

Aistyn stared, jaw to the floor. A few kids were busy dusting themselves off, while the others simply shook their heads.

“Where is Matthew when you need him?” Prof. Regan said, annoyed. He looked at students assembled, and, unable to find his quarry, started creating a small tornado of ash on one of fiberglass tables. “Everyone,” he announced, “please vacate the premises as I sweep up this mess.” He then continued muttering on about fire safety and silly pranks.

After clearing up the mess Prof. Regan called the students back inside. He questioned them about the incident earlier, and promptly decided to start his lecture, as his inquiries were only met with shrugs and tepid denials. Aistyn tried to listen, but she was still thinking about the capsule, puzzling over who had put it in the lab.

The conch sounded, signaling the end of the period. Aistyn was jolted out of her daze. She briefly shook her head to clear it as she and her fellow students exited the lab.

They had a ten-minute break, and in that short amount of time, Aistyn managed to have a crazy-turned-serious conversation with her friend, Kelly, the telepathic girl who lived just a few dragon lengths (obviously much larger than Mr. Ezra Snuffles’ diminutive stature) away from Aistyn’s house at Fehan’s Ave.

Kelly had approached Aistyn asking about the practical exam they were going to take later. “Hey, you ready?”

Course she wasn’t. She even had a headache when she woke up – a result of her pyrokinetics practice, but she didn’t have to tell Kelly that. Kelly was, after all, telepathic.

“Okay, okay, stop!” she yelled, backing up a step.

Aistyn grinned at her. “I’m so ready, right?” she joked. Kelly’s grimace soon melted off in a chuckle, and the two were laughing their heads off, not even sure why they were laughing in the first place.

“You’re mad!” Kelly exclaimed.

“So are you.”

“I agree. And that’s great, but I think you – we – are driving everyone crazy.”

“You’re saying I should change?”

“Well…” Kelly hesitated, “maybe you do, maybe you don’t.”

“I don’t.”

“Yeah, you don’t,” said Kelly, her smile again slowly coloring her features.

“There’s just no way I’m changing for anyone’s sanity, especially when I have doubts about my own,” Aistyn half muttered to herself.

The conch sounded again. Break over. The students returned to their seats. Professor Clemens entered, and he announced that he’d be testing them, testing them where they were most skilled at.

Aistyn felt like melting into a puddle of goo. What was she most skilled at? Nothing. She was not Trish, the Charmspeaker, nor was she Zia, master of all things military. She didn’t have Jamie’s Gift of Tongues, or Anna’s Touch of Life. Jenna could make illusions, Maureen could turn invisible. What was she going to do?

Aistyn searched herself. What was she? Nothing. Who was she? Nobody. Just a crazy girl who’d been overawed and overjoyed to receive an invitation to attend Chaete’s Academy. A crazy girl who always felt crushed by the pressure, the expectations.

She didn’t have anything. They all had something, she had nothing. They were blessed. She wasn’t. Life’s not fair.

You’re crazy, a voice whispered in her mind, which she identified as Kelly’s. You really think you’re not special?

What? That’s my gift? Craziness? Aistyn asked coolly, which Kelly, in turn, identified as sarcasm.

Oh, such a sputid girl! Your level of sputidupity could never fail to surprise me. We would never have been friends if you weren’t crazy, would we? DIG DEEPER!

Eh?Digging a grave? Aistyn joked. But yeah, thanks.

And then her turn was up. Prof. Clemens was beckoning to her.

“Show me what you can do,” he said.

She did. She showed him what she’d learned, what she’d been taught. But no matter how well she did, she knew it wasn’t enough.

“Now, show me your talent.”

Aistyn started to panic. She didn’t have a talent. Or at least she didn’t know what it was.

Prof. Clemens was waiting, smiling, encouraging her. What could she do?

For some reason, she remembered Calico – how the cat had been a nuisance to their neighbors, before Aistyn tamed him. No one could even get near him, and she tamed him! Is that related to her talent?

You can be anything you want.

That was what they always said.

And then, thinking of Calico the calico cat – and suppressing a laugh – she did.

She thought that that line was only something they said to encourage children, but now, she realized, for her and many others, it was literal.

She rolled on the floor, laughing – or would have done so, if she could. Instead, she just rolled, and then stood up on four legs – yes, four!

She searched the audience for Kelly and grinned at her. Rather, she showed her sharp teeth, because how else could a tiger grin?

 

Silent Screams

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My day started fine, and then went on to have an unhappy turn. That turn made me realize just how much I loathed the system.

We had a class activity; everyone was supposed to contribute. Give suggestions and debate ideas. It was, almost, okay. Almost.
My friend and I were listening to the ones standing in front — those who, without question, had somehow been the leaders of this activity, this play. At one point my friend suggested something, and when she was done talking, the people in front nodded, but after a moment they started saying something, disagreeing with my friend, and then they huddled in front again, discussing something.

My friend and I knew that they had not understood, based on their replies. So she explained it to them, but still they disagreed. They just couldn’t they get it. Why couldn’t they get it?

My friend never stood a chance — these people were the known ones, the kind of popular ones, the powerful ones, with great, booming voices, while ours were mere whispers. Yes, the people in front heard my friend, but they didn’t listen. And here, if you’re known, they will listen; if you’re not, then, well, good luck.

They asked for some more suggestions. None came. Some of us, who also were Whisperers, had not talked for so long, been quiet for so long, that their meek voices had disappeared altogether. They were now mute, and they were well on their way to becoming blind. Well, actually, a handful were already blind, just nodding and agreeing to whatever the powerful people said. Just agreeing, without even bothering to think of or about other ideas. They were now just puppets. robots.

And yet, even with their irritating attitude, perhaps the powerful ones are to be pitied as well — for they had become deaf. They do not really hear what others say. But they could still communicate with each other — after all, it is easy to talk to each other when you know how to, when you know what sign you would understand. It really does take one to know one.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

[Too lazy to add more, too sleepy to remember what else I was supposed to write.]

Fare Thee Well

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So yeah yesterday our teacher gave us a pair task. I just… I dunno… I think something possessed me… A simple narrative, diary entry, letter, or drawing would do, but no, some annoying part of me just had to make a sonnet. -.-

And it didn’t end there. That part of me just had to use Old English (something like that).  -.-

And I spent hours writing it because I couldn’t think of anything good. I slept early. That is, early in the morning. 2 AM. -.- And I made an effort to get to school on time (yes I’m a bad girl :P) because I thought we were gonna present it. Tsk. We didn’t. We had a review session instead with another teacher. Tsk.

But anyway here’s what I managed to write:

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Whatcha think? :))))

The Tale of Sholt

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THE TALE OF SHOLT

Once upon a time, in a house by the river, there was a boy who was so lazy and so spoiled he didn’t even have to lift a finger to get what he wanted, provided that his parents can give it to him. Sholt, his name was, and wherever he went, his personal assistant was always just behind him.

One day, when Sholt went to town, he picked a fight with a smaller, younger, poor boy, for Sholt was as ill-mannered and mean as he was spoiled. The little boy ran away, or rather, limped away, very much frightened of Sholt.

What Sholt didn’t know was that the boy’s mother was a sorceress. Well, as the townsfolk called her, a witch. That night she imbued Sholt with a curse.

Years passed. Sholt’s parents died in an accident. Sholt followed them soon after, because their assistants had left him, and he was too lazy to do anything.

But Sholt didn’t go to the afterlife – the curse was only starting to take effect. Sholt became some kind of a spirit, some kind of a disturbance, who harassed any person he met. Up to this day, he spreads a curse, to which only a few people are immune. The ones affected are turned into something like him when he was still living. They become lazy; they procrastinate; they do not finish what they started. Yes, they try to fight the curse, but they often lose.

However, there is a way to ba

H(A)UNTED

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HAUNTED

He’s a ghost. A teen who died before his time. A poltergeist. Looking for a locket that belonged to his most beloved one.

She’s the devil’s spawn, as people call her. A deranged kid. The only one who could see him. And, more importantly, calm him down.

Could he find the locket, before the psychics and espers find him? Could she help him move on?

And, when – if – he finds the locket, what will happen to her? Will she be left alone, staring at the blank white walls of her room? Or will she be given another chance?

Daily Prompt: BYOB(ookworm)

Callista

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CALLISTA

PART I

. |  .|.   |  |.  |  |  .|..

I’m back in the magical library, where I could enter any book I opened. I do hope I choose a nice fiction book this time. The last three books I chose weren’t exactly that good.

I let my eyes scan the different books with their varying covers, none ever giving clue as to what lay inside. A leather bound book caught my eyes, and I reached up to pull it. I opened the thick heavy book; too late did I realize my mistake. The mysterious light had already appeared when I realized that I had opened the book at about a third of it.

 . |  .|.   |  |.  |  |  .|..

I was in a training room of some sort. There were three kids and a teen, all of them holding wooden swords. The teen, a boy of about fourteen, was sparring with an experienced swordsman, I could tell. The oldest of the three kids, about eleven or so, was taking a break. Two servants were standing beside her, one fanning her and the other handing her water. The other two kids were fighting, both trying to best the other.

Somewhere nearby, a pair of big heavy doors slammed shut, and everything turned black.

 .    . .       .        . ..

It was dark, so I couldn’t see much. There was a hurried knock on the door before it opened; in came a girl wearing a simple tunic.

By the light from outside, I could see that I was in an impressive room. I could not fully appreciate the beauty of it, however, because my curiosity was held by the girl sleeping on the soft bed, and the other girl trying to wake her up.

“My lady, wake up! Please, you have to get up,” the girl, who I now knew was a servant, was insisting.

The sleeping girl grumbled, turned her back on the servant, and went right back to sleep.

I settled on a chair nearby and watched the two of them.

“Please, Princess, you have to get up. Princess Callista, there’s been an attack!”

Princess Callista jumped off her bed so suddenly that the servant girl stumbled back a step and knocked something down to the floor.

What? What did you say?” asked the princess.

“There’s an attack, and the king says you have to get away.”

“No. I’m staying here, Erin.”

“But, Princess, I’ve been ordered to get you to your mother’s sitting room. From there a knight will take you and your mother and the young Prince Aidan away.”

“I’m staying,” the princess said stubbornly. She turned to Erin and asked for help in putting on her armor. Erin hesitated at first, but she helped Callista.

An armor-clad man rushed into the room and looked at the princess. “Callista! You’re still here?” asked the man – no, not a man, just a boy. Erin started to curtsey, but he told her not to bother.

“Sage?”

“Yes,” the guy answered, taking off his helmet. The expression he wore was grave.

“What happened?” Callista asked, her voice full of concern.

“Father’s dead.”

What?

“Father—”

“No, no; I heard you the first time. But… Father, dead?” Callista repeated.

“Yes. Now get out of here!”

“I’m staying,” Callista announced.

“I’m a prince; I’m ord—”

“And I’m a princess,” Callista argued.

“I’m older,” Sage shot back. “I’m ordering you to get to safety.”

“There is no way you can just order me around!”

“Fine,” said the prince.

Callista, with a triumphant smile on her face, turned to Erin. “See? I can stay.”

Erin just nodded.

“You know where you should go?” asked Sage.

“Of course! We’ve been there lots of times,” answered Callista.

Sage nodded. “Birch needs me,” he said before leaving.

Callista turned to Erin. “Take my pack – you know the one? Take it and go with Queen Elen. Go!” She gave Erin a little shove.

“Hey, princess,”  I called to Callista.

She didn’t seem to hear me, or if she did, she ignored me. Ouch.

She looked at a painting, and I looked as well. It depicted a happy family – the royal family. There was the king, his eyes shining with suppressed laughter. To his left, the queen sat, her face radiating love. Was that Queen Elen?

And there were five children. The oldest, almost a young man, stood at the king’s right. At the queen’s left stood a young lady, her eyes showing hints of wisdom beyond her years. In front of the heir, a young prince stood, a mischievous smile on his face. On the king’s lap sat a princess, prettier than her older sister. And lastly, on the queen’s lap sat the youngest, merely a toddler.

On my second look, I recognized the younger prince and princess. They were Sage and Callista. So the queen must be Queen Elen. Who’s Birch?

. |  .|.   |  |.  |  |  .|..

Nobody seemed to notice me, and that was the way I preferred. I followed the princess to a tower, her quiver slung on her back, her bow in her hand. People bowed to her, but she only kept her eyes straight ahead.

There were already archers in the tower, shooting off the invaders, who seemed to come from nowhere. Oh wait – they came out of the ground.

“Tunnels?” Callista asked no one in particular.

“Yes, my lady,” answered some random archer near her.

“Can’t we collapse them?” Callista asked.

“The others are already trying to, Your Highness.”

I looked at the people fighting on the ground. They looked so small, and yet every minute, they were causing part of the land to turn dark red.

A shadow passed over them, and I looked up to see what caused it.

“Hey, that’s a dragon!” I exclaimed.

The dragon swooped down and breathed fire on the enemies who just came out of the tunnel. On the way up, it took some of them on its claws.

I took my eyes off the battleground and turned to watch the archers. They aimed quickly and calmly – of course – shooting death from their hands. Callista’s arrows were almost spent, but people kept on handing them some more, making sure they weren’t entirely out of shots.

From above, I heard Sage’s voice. “Callista, here!”

He was riding a bronze dragon; he was just one of the people on dragons. How come I didn’t notice them before?

With the help of some servants, Callista climbed and sat behind her brother on the dragon. Someone handed her more arrows, and then the dragon flew off, though not before I was able to hitch a ride as well.

The ride was amazing! It wasn’t exactly smooth, but it felt great. With every upward stroke of the dragon’s wings, we fell a bit, and with every downward stroke, we rose.

Princess Callista, obviously very used to flying on the dragon’s back, notched an arrow and let it loose. I saw one enemy fall to his knees and then do a faceplant on the ground.

Sage directed the dragon. It was only then that I noticed the reins, but Sage never used them. Maybe he felt it was enough to guide the dragon with – I dunno – his mind?

The dragon took a sudden turn, and I instinctively held on to Callista, sitting between Sage and me, to avoid falling off.

Callista shivered, making her lose her aim. “What was that?” she asked.

“It’s me,” I admitted. “Sorry.”

“What was what?” Sage asked.

Didn’t they notice me?

“Nothing. Don’t mind me,” Callista said as she shot another enemy.

“Tell me when you’re out of arrows. Then I’m off, and you direct my dragon.”

“All right.”

Just a few minutes later Callista told Sage she had no arrows left. He instructed his dragon to dive and breathe fire. He slipped off when it did so.

Callista used the reins. She helped wherever she could by torching the enemies. In the center of the fighting she spotted someone didn’t know.

That someone was fighting a high-ranked enemy, so he must have a high rank too – wasn’t that how it always worked in stories? Just as it looked like Callista’s ally was winning another guy – an enemy – ran to the two, unnoticed by Callista’s ally.

“Look out!” I shouted.

The guy didn’t look out. The enemy behind him raised his sword and plunged it into him. The good guy fell to his knees.

“Birch! No!” Callista cried.

… to be continued

Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger

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