The Flame Inside

“Wake up Remy you have to go to school.” I awaken, rub the crust out of my eyes, and do my early morning stretching. What’s the point, I think to myself as I ponder about going through another year of high school.

“Wake up!” my mother yells. My mother urging me out so that she may call her suitors over. She pretends to care about my education; I know what she really wants. Some early morning loving.

“I’m up Ma! Calm down.”

I go into the bathroom and scrub the filth from my body, then put on my Levi Jeans and army fatigue shirt for the first day of a new year. I walk downstairs to see my mother laying on the recliner, drinking what seems to be her fourth beer of the day while empty cans crumple under my feet on the way out the house.

“See ya ma. I’m going to school.”

School was never really for me, it’s not that I didn’t understand the material or I had bully problems. It just all seems pointless. I know I have a bigger meaning, a bigger purpose in this sick world we live in. I know I’ll change the world, for the good of mankind I don’t really know yet. But for now I have first period science class.

In class my teacher Mr. Bentz introduces and urges the class to pay attention so they we may strive. Right from hearing this I go to sleep until the bell rings signaling the end of class. I rise quickly and dart out the room.

“Give me your lunch money.”

“No, please.”

“I said give me your lunch money before I whoop your ass.”

“Ahh, help me. Help!”

I run to the screams, that lead me to a dark hallway with faint lights flickering in the distance. I see the bullies taking advantage of this poor kid. I don’t know if I should help him or not.This isn’t my problem after all. The bullies and I make eye contact for a split second before I decide to walk away to my next class.

Now in PE I can clear my mind of my mother, bullies, and whatever’s to come. I decide to hit the weights and work on my arms. I pick up the 30 pound dumbbells, to begin my sets.

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eig...,” said Remy.

“Yo, did you rat on me?”

“Nine, Ten.”

“I said, did you rat on me!”

I look up to see the bully towering over me with his fists clenched. His friend is behind him like some sort of body-guard. Trouble always seems to find me.

“No I didn’t say a word to anyone. Now let me finish my sets,” said Remy.

“I don’t believe you, now stand up and fight me like a man,” the bull replied.

Damn, I didn’t want to get into any kind of trouble the first day. But since he was asking for trouble, I had no choice. I stand up nice and slow and put the weights away. Before he knows it my fist slams into the bullies face. Crack. He drops hard to the ground rubbing his nose. He signals the rest of his friends for help. At least seven more stocky teens run towards me. Damn, I know I’m in trouble. I turn and run for the doors. I sprint through the hallways trying to find an escape or some type of hiding spot. I see a pair of doors in the distance that I go towards. As I went to open the doors they wouldn’t barge open. I turn around looking for another way out only to see the 8 bullies staring me down.

“You don’t want to do this. Just let me go. We can pretend it never happened,” I say, as I try to reason with them. My words don’t phase them, for they continue giving me evil blank stares. They charge me and slam me to the wall. They begin to punch and stomp on me aiming to crush and bruise my ribs and head.

“Now this is what you get bitch,” says the lead bully.

“Yeah dumb ass,” says another.

Blow after blow, I fade a bit more thinking of what my father would do in his troubled times. Half conscious, I begin to feel a sensation as my heart begins to pump faster and faster. What are they doing to me? My skin begins to tremble and vibrate and my body begins to steam ever so slightly. The bullies stop pounding me and back away a couple of feet. I caress my face only to feel massive bruises and a stream of blood flowing from my head on the green grid printed school floors.

“Ahhhhh”, steam begins to rise from my whole body. I stand up and look towards the bullies.

“What have you done to me, help me”, I plead out.

I look in their leader’s eyes and see fear, as he signals the crew to slowly back away. Suddenly my hands go ablaze. My eyes widen as my hands are on fire but I feel no burn. I’m not hurt. The fire consumes my body and heals my wounds. The bullies run away screaming.

“Fire! Fire! Fire!”

I step towards them, leaving a burning trail behind me. One of them pulls the fire alarm, the cold water puts the flames out. From the fire alarm I get dizzy and pass out.  

Opening my eyes, I see a white light dangling from above my head. I lift my head urging myself to get up but it’s a struggle as my body is completely in pain. I manage to lift myself up, but my head is still in circles. I lift my head up and notice I’m in the principle's office. I see my mother in near distance speaking to him. My head is in so much pain that I’m seeing in my mother in doubles. It takes a while but my senses start to come too. Damn, what the hell happened?! Once my mother and principle Philips see that I’m awake, they signal me to come sit in the empty chair that is beside my mother. I walk slowly to the chair, as I have no clue of what’s to come. My heart pounds and pounds, it feels like it may  pound right out my chest. As I sit down I stay I stay silent, waiting for them to reprimand me. The principal glares at me, while my mother wipes the sweat from her clammy palms and slightly shakes as she looks at me.

I look towards the principle, “What seems to be the problem?” I ask.

“You, my boy, are in deep shit. It seems you like to start fires. You’ve picked up some bad traits from your father and just like him you’ll eventually end up in jail. Just like him, you like to burn shit up.” says Principal Philip.

“What are you talking about? I didn’t start any fires. It just sorta hap ... happened. I’m telling the truth.” I was trying to plead my case as best as I could without knowing the true facts myself.

“I have witnesses that say you started a fire, so since you are clearly lying I ought to kick you out of the school. But since your mother has convinced me otherwise” he continued, smirking in my mothers direction, “you’ll just spend a week in detention.”

“That’s not fair, I haven’t done anything.”

“Not fair?! I should send your little arsonist ass to jail. You should be grateful you’re only getting detention. But for now I’m sending you home with your mother. You’ve started enough trouble for the day.”

As I walk to my mother’s old BMW three series, I think about what principle Philips said to me about my father. I’ve never known my father but apparently he seems to be an expert. Maybe now my mother will finally talk to me about my father. The rusted material on the door squeaks as I open it. I sit on brown ripped pleather seats. My mom gets into the car and we drive off. From the look in her face she doesn’t seem angry but she begins to sweat every time she looks my way. What’s on her mind? Does it have something to do with my father? Is the expense too much to handle?”

“Mom, I know there’s no true way to try to explain myself, but you have to believe it wasn’t intentional and I’ll do whatever I can to help pay off the damages.”

“No, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you. It’s about your father and fire and well we’ll talk about it when we get home.” I see my mother’s face begin to drip in sweat like she’s made a big mistake or something. I’m sorta relieved though; I finally get to know about my father. She’s kept him a secret from me for so long I had almost forgotten he existed. It’s a long drive home in the car driving on the dirt desert road. While getting out the car, we rush in the house as we see a pack of wild coyotes in the distance hungry for meat. We manage to make it inside without them noticing. My mother and I sit down in the 2 recliners. She looks and messes with her own hands.

“Do you want a glass of lemonade?” she asked.

“No, I’m fine.”

“I’m going to get you a glass of Lemonade.” I can tell my mother is really stalling and trying to stray away from this talk. This is driving my patience to another level. I wait 15 minutes without her return. I then clench my fists. Bam! I bang on the table, causing it to crack at the core. I feel a stream of blood flowing down my hand before noticing my hands steam again like before. Oh no, I’m starting to feel that special sensation. What’s happening to me? Just before my hands combust into flames, my mother rushes to my side and pours ice water on my hands.

“That was a close call!”

“So you know what’s happening to me. You know what I’m going through.” I look into her eyes trying to find an answer. My hands are sore from the liquid relief. I search my pockets for some Advil.

“You have to learn to control your emotions. Your fire capabilities are directly linked somehow. Your father couldn’t handle that task. That’s why he’s dead now.” My heart drops; even though I never knew my father, I’d always imagined that we would meet up someday, that I would have the chance to meet this notorious man. But I guess I won’t be able to.

“How’d my father die... who was he? Did he use his powers for the greater good or for the downfall of mankind?” Questions of curiosity fill my head as I strive to learn about the lost stories of my father. I know he must have been a great man, regardless of what my mother will tell me, I just know it.

“Slow your roll Remy?, Calm down,” my mother said.I relax myself, sitting up in the seat and eager to learn about him.

“It’s a long story, starting on August 6, 1945 in the town of Hiroshima,” my mother began.

“That date sounds familiar.”

“The date should sound familiar, or all of Arizona’s public school teaching is a complete failure. It’s the time America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima killing over 135,000 people.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” I can smell the beer on her breath as she tells me the story. I can’t really tell if she’s being sincere or if she’s on a drunken rant. For now, I’m going to decide that whatever she says is the truth. Maybe she’s finally telling the truth after years of lying and deception.

She continues, “Your great grandfather was a refugee there when the bomb hit the town. He was one of the lucky ones who didn’t die instantly from the blast. But, unknowingly, he had been affected with radiation poisoning that wound up killing him years later, after he had kids. Something happened to your grandfather before his death though. He was changed... Somehow, the radiation from the bomb changed his genes and DNA strands. Every other person affected by the radiation lost eyes, hair, or at the most grew extra fingers or toes. But, no, your great grandfather was special. The radiation gave him fire powers.”

“Fire powers?”

“Yes. Your great grandfather, grandfather, and father were all wonderful men before they discovered their capabilities. The fire took control of them, and they couldn’t control their emotions or capabilities. Before they knew it, the ones they loved were in danger. I thought, prayed, wished that this vile curse would end, and that it would skip over your bloodline, but it didn’t. Tears roll down from her face.

“Don’t worry, mom, I’m not like my father or his father before him. I’ll control my capabilities.”

“I don’t want to take that chance, so from now on I’m keeping you home until I can trust that you can control your emotions. Don’t try to plead, either. This is very serious and I don’t want you burning your classmates to a crisp when one of them steps on your shoe.” Even though I didn’t agree with her decision, I would have to accept it. From now on, my main thought would be control. I did research on being calm and watched a lot of superhero cartoons to get tips. I’m not going to lie I watched about 100 cartoons to 1 stress relief video. I was trying to find if any heroes in the cartoon world went through a similar dilemma, to find out if superheroes go through this a lot? I needed to practice using my powers on command. First, I went out back and set up a shooting range, basically a bunch of cans and bottles lined up that my mom didn’t need anymore. I needed to use the energy inside on command, and not by anger. I focused long and hard on my hands hoping they would come ablaze but never did. What was it? Why couldn’t I control my powers. I thought back to the comics and cartoons and didn’t really remember any tips on control but they were the goal I had set. I wanted to be one of them, to be a hero, someone that the public could look to for safety, someone my ancestors could be proud of. From this my ambition to be great helped me focus to where I created the sensation all on my own and before I knew it my hands had combusted into flames. I was still fascinated how my hands were engulfed yet I felt no pain. I managed to spread the flames to covering my arms and eventually the rest of my body. I can’t lie, the power felt good, real good. I take my powers into play as a shoot down the targets with ease, I’m a natural.

My mother just came from work was standing silently at the door observing me. “Just like your father.” she said. I  then looked in her direction, she looked scared as if she’d seen monster. I didn’t want to make her cry so I relaxed my body to shut my powers down.

That night before falling asleep, I thought of a plan that would make my mother proud of me, just like the heroes in the comics. She’s never told me she loved me or that I was special to her. We never had a real connection, I was determined to change that, I would make her want to praise me as a son. I then practiced my capabilities non stop until they were under my control. I was so good that I could light a candle from a mile away.

After a practice session outside in the back of my house, my mother approaches me with some lemonade.

“I’ve seen you’ve done a lot of practice on controlling your powers,” she says.

“Yea ma, I think I’m ready to go back to school now.” She puts the lemonade down and gets serious in her tone.

“I’m not to sure of that though, see you’ve managed to control your powers, which I congratulate you on but yet to have control over your emotions.

“But aren’t they same thing since they are so called “linked” together.”

“This is the same thing your father thought before the fire took over his body and pushed him to his breaking point.”

“I’m not my FATHER! I will never be like that clown, he’s not me, he couldn’t do what I can do. I am all powerful.” My head and body light into a flame uncontrollably.

“AHHHH” I scream and shoot fireballs into the air, it feels like my body is being taken over.

Coyotes from all around see the flames in the distance and come rushing towards us, damn. It’s hard to concentrate, it feels like my head is exploding. These coyotes aren’t scared of my flames but instead attack with no let-up, I guess they were hungry. At least 20 blood driven, red eyed, coyotes with sharp fangs and tearing claws charge towards me. The pain from the overpowering flame is causing me to see in doubles, I don’t know what wolf is real compared to the fakes. Trying to fight the coyotes off and protect the family is a tough task, but I have to get through it for the survival of the family. Before I know it, I focus on my goal of being a hero again and i’m able to control my abilities a bit more. I see 2 charging coyotes, I quickly burn them in a flash. More coyotes come to the fight to where my mother and I was getting shredded alive. I had no choice and unleashed my flame, causing my flame to spread turning all the coyotes into ash. I had done it, saved the day. Afterwards we went into the house to rest from the epic battle. Going through the fight in my head, I realized if I were ready I would of handled that situation a lot better instead of killing off a whole pack of coyotes. Good guys don’t kill and I did it effortlessly.  I couldn’t let my mother know of the concern that I had with my abilities so I pretend that everything it Ok.

“Mom I told you, I’m ready for the real world I clearly had things under control.”

“Oh but you hadn’t, it’s your fault that we were in that predicament in the first place.” Surely enough she had realized the same thing I had. As hard as it was I didn’t want to believe it but she was right. I caused all that fight, unintentionally but caused an unnecessary fight. I put my head down and mope to my room. I known know that these powers aren’t a gift, aren’t a way for me to do something great, but a curse like my mother said. She was right about everything, I would follow the footsteps of my dad and grandfathers. Even though wanting to be good, wanting to be a hero, I’m not destined for that sort of greatness. Rethinking my plans on what i’d do now with my life is a hard thing to do. I can’t go back to school because I might burn it down which wouldn’t be a bad idea. Theres no point in training anymore since controlling my powers are pointless, the flame inside of me is uncontrollable, it’s energy is pure evil which I can’t overcome. My mother is scared of me and hates me because of the monster I am.

Later on I hear a ruckus downstairs, I walk half way downstairs to see my mother and about 10 men in police uniforms. Knowing my mother, she must of did something.

“Mom what’s happening.” She doesn’t reply at first but points towards me so that the officers may get a clear view of me. There’s faces don’t look to pleasant.

“What seems to be the problem officers?” Again at first no response but they start to move in my direction. I’m sweating through my shirt and my hands begin to steam.

“Son, we have to take you into custody. Your mother has informed me that your a serial arsonist that has no sympathy for human life.”

“No that’s not true, I swear.” My body begins to steam a bit more. I didn’t want to combust and to prove my mother right, so with all my strength I held back the flame inside. The officers then reach for their pistols.

“What are you doing?” I look towards my mother, trying to urge her that this isn’t the way, that I didn’t want to die.  

“Just do it already, KILL HIM, KILL THE FIRE BOY!” said my mother. My heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach after hearing those vile words. I then knew that I wasn’t the monster, I wasn’t the demon, she was. She was the bad mother who never showed me any type of love or affection. She would rather be with her boyfriends than her own son. She couldn’t believe in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. She brought me this low level of self-confidence. She just wanted me out of her life.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Three shots hit me clear in the chest, as I fall to my death a single tear rolls down my face, only ever wanting to be loved.

Comments (2)

Kenyatta Bundy (Student 2015)
Kenyatta Bundy

I enjoyed the science fiction in the story. It didn't seem very believable though since it was him having fire powers. Their is not much description behind why he had these powers. I think this story did a good job of allowing the character to develop. As I finish the story, I wonder what it would be like if a person really experienced this. I also wonder if he could have been a normal teenager.

Liza Cohen (Student 2015)
Liza Cohen

I really like the science fiction. It seems cool; like a power for a super hero. But it gets the character into trouble so he has to maintain it. I can tell the character produces fire but I'm confused on how. I don't really see that science explaination in the text (then again, it doesn't have be absoutely real). Is the fire coming from his hands? Out his ears? I can't see that part visually. But I like how it was incorperated and connects to a real life moment in history.

The author did a really good job of representing the characters and bringing the scenes to life. Everything that was going on; I imagined it in my head. I created full characters and scenes in my mind while reading the story; it was an entertaining read. I like the history connection too with the bomb of Hiroshima.

I love the ending to the story. I'm thinking about how the mother's life was going to go, now that she killed her son. She didn't want him anymore. Was her life complete paradise now?