The Kalani family had always been firebringers. All the way back to long gone generations, they'd lived in that sturdy ranch house nestled in the hills a hop, skip, and a jump away from Hualālai. The young boys climbed the mountain with no fear, peering into the crater and sometimes going further into the volcano than any normal human would dare. The girls climbed mountains too, faster than the boys. They stood on top of the world, wind whipping their hair about. No matter what age, skill, or gender, all Kalanis could hold a chunk of molten rock in one hand and a ball of flames in the other.
All except for Lana.
"Maybe if you stare harder it will burst into flames." Josh, a skinny, freckled boy perched on a rounded, smooth rock, watched in curiosity at the girl sitting on the beach, staring intently at a hunk of driftwood.
"Says the white boy." Josh had no powers, other than the uncanny knack he had with macaroni and cheese. Ironically, he could boil water faster than she could. Lana narrowed her eyes at the driftwood, but nothing happened.
How did the rest of the Kalanis do it? Her older brother had lit his own candle at his first birthday part, although he couldn't remember it and Lana serious doubted it was true. Nowadays, Koa could bring fire a second's notice, without even breaking a sweat. "It's like doing a Rubik's cube," he explained one afternoon after a training session that left Lana with mascara streaming down her cheeks and a severe case of the hiccups. "Only you're doing it at the speed of light or something, and that last little click of every piece lining up is what lights your brain on fire."
"That's literally makes no sense," Lana replied. Koa might have been the strongest firebringer of the decade, but he sucked at explanations. Lana, however, might have been the worst firebringer of all time, but at least she was good at Rubik's cubes.
She pulled her favourite cube out of her pocket and fiddled with it absently. Maybe she should try lighting it on fire. Koa did say that items of personal value were easier to ignite. Laughter bubbled up inside her, laughter that was jagged and hurt. It wasn't worth it. Besides, it probably wouldn't work.
She stretched out on the soft beach sand, using Josh's knapsack as a lumpy pillow. The Rubik's cube rested on her stomach as she lazily toyed with it.
Josh winced, rolling off his rock with a grimace. "Is it supposed to rain today?" He limped over, all his weight on his good leg. One painful soccer injury, and suddenly he was the Human Barometer.
Lana shrugged. "An actual storm, or a metaphorical storm? Because if I don't summon at least a flicker by my 16th birthday, my parents are going to lose it." She brushed a curly sprig of hair out of her eyes and tucked it behind her ear. Her face remained set in a way that desperately tried to shield the unrest within her. She knew something was there, deep inside her, but she didn't know how to reach it. Everyone thought they did, but nothing ever worked.
Her blood warmed with frustration, and she knelt quickly, staring hard at anything flammable.
Josh sat down next to her. "What is it?"
"I felt hot."
He snorted, and she elbowed him with a murderous scowl--not angry at her best friend, but angry at herself. She was a failure.
"Is it just my imagination, or did it just get a lot colder all of the sudden?" He rubbed his once broken leg, wincing again.
The sky, once soft and blue, had turned dark and solemn while she stared at the wood for hours. Storm clouds rose on the horizon, and they drew closer with every heartbeat. The wind picked up a little, tossing Lana's hair into Josh's face and making him splutter.
Lana leaped to her feet and grabbed his hand. "Come on!" She pulled him to the water, cackling wildly as they ran.
The wind whipped around them, catching at their loose clothing and Lana's long hair, making it even wilder than before. A piece of trash floated atop the increasingly urgent waves, lost to the mercy of the coming storm.
It felt wrong, to look at a piece of debris and understand how it felt.
She knelt to pick it up, then tucked it away in her cargo shorts. The water lapped at her ankles. She took a step farther in. "Come on." Josh stood a foot away, his skinny, fish-belly white toes barely wet. "Let's scream into the storm," she begged, suddenly having to speak around the tightly wound ball of tears gathering in her throat.
He took one look at her and plunged into the water.
The ocean took their legs, up to their knees, and the waves splashed at their waists, hungry for more. Lana didn't dare go any further, however--even if she as at home in the water as she was on land, she knew better than to swim in a storm like this. Still...her body ached with a strange desire to submerge herself, to become one with the raging ocean.
In the ocean, there was no need to start a fire.
"I'M SORRY!" she yelled into the quickly darkening clouds, hoping whatever ancestor that actually cared was listening. "I'M SORRY I'M SHAMEFUL TO YOUR LEGACY!"
Josh squeezed her hand tightly. "I'M SORRY I FAILED MY MATH TEST!"
She whirled to look him in his eyes. His freckles bunched together like confused constellations, as the wind buffeted him back and forth. "You failed a math test?" she asked incredulously.
He looked sheepishly away. "I got a B minus..."
"Oh my gosh." She dropped his hand and cupped her hands around her mouth to shout loudly, "MY BEST FRIEND IS ABSURD!"
"Says the girl who can't light a match!"
He said it with a gentle smile, not meaning any harm, but something huge, something angry, something hot roared within her, swallowing Lana whole. She was burning up, the ocean not even dousing her fire. She had to get rid of this heat, or she would explode.
So she screamed--a wordless, ancient cry, full of pain and angry and resentment.
Then the heavens cracked open, and rain poured from the skies, soaking them both and driving Lana's fire down to a comfortable warmth.
She had squeezed her eyes tightly shut against the the coming tears, but when she opened them, Josh stared at her, wide-eyed and astonished.
"Look at your hands, Lana." His voice was a whisper of hushed awe over the roar of the storm.
When she looked, her jaw dropped open. Pearly opalescent balls of crackling light, somehow both light and dark at the same time, clung to the palms of her hands, sending a tingling sensation through her fingers and up her arms. She wasn't really holding them; they were just there. No matter where or how she moved her hands, they followed.
"Well. Lighting." She swallowed. Josh watched her carefully, no doubt ready to bolt if she started screaming again. "That was...unexpected." She inspected her left hand, which seemed to glow a little hotter. A little tendril of light zapped her on the nose, and she yelped.
"Unexpected, yeah." Josh had a grin on his face she couldn't quite decipher. "So unexpected it was very...shocking."
Lana stared at him for a few seconds, her hands twitching and burning in a painless way, then lunged for him, not caring if she electrocuted him or not.
"I just got my power," she shouted as she chased him up the beach, "And you think it's a good opportunity to make a really lame pun?"
hello all! fun fact about me: one of my absolute favourite series as a kid was built around Hawaiian culture and the islands, and it's still one of my favourite places to read about (I just did a bunch of research on volcanoes and the language to make sure my facts weren't completely made up, and IT WAS THE BEST). this was a little writing exercise I did this morning, based on a prompt about elements, and something possessed me to go back to my reading roots and visit Hawaii again. and you know me--I could hardly pass up an opportunity for a terrible pun! just a fun little one-shot! hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! <3
hope you have a great rest of the week! sorry for not blogging as often/as regularly as I usually do!