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Writing Malignancy; Part I [PG-V]


Ailes de Velour
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Woot, a big creative writing assignment. Enjoy.

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Something about a raging fire caught Lumen?s attention and gripped it with an iron fist. He felt the flames lick his bare arms, without singeing his body, and they danced in a crimson flurry around his unmoving, awestruck figure. The boy stared ahead; the heat from the fire was creating a fierce wind that blew his black hair every which way and obscuring some of his vision. His eyes were so icy and blue that it seemed they would spring to life and douse the inferno, but he was too enthralled with the whirlwind of flames that the thought of ending it never crossed his mind.
He thought he would be able to stand in the middle of the spectacle forever, never being interrupted by his hateful father, his irritating mother. Maybe even nature would be on his side for the rest of his life. But he knew this would never happen, nothing ever happens the way he wants it to. He knew so much more than ?life?s not fair.? He had little control over anything around him. His father was short-tempered and had a powerful fist, and his mother was a lazy slob who made him do everything she could think of.
?Make dinner, Lumen. Clean the house. Go to market. Feed the cat. Wash the windows. Fix the staircase. Mend the bedcovers.? Her voice was that of a screeching peacock, and it had scratched itself into Lumen?s brain and wouldn?t get out. The pain of his father beating him added to this annoying thought, and created an everlasting twinge of misery that he couldn?t shake.
The flames spun around him faster as his anger rose at his parents.
He thought of all the times they had wronged him, which he felt was every day of his life. He was only eleven years old, but he thought all those years were just constant ache and agitation. With every hateful thought, the blaze grew larger and larger until he was trapped in a hot vortex of red and gold. He loved every minute of the phenomenon; it was the only thing he could control, the only thing that didn?t give him anguish.
He thought he was safe from his world, and he was. At least until his father made his appearance.
?Bleeding orchids! What in Airth?Lumen!!? He was very angry, and possibly frightened. Of course, any elf would be scared of a giant fire tornado spinning stagnantly on his front lawn. Lumen just wondered how his father knew he was causing it.
My father, he thought, no. I have no father. He is just Nixel. That?s all he is.
?Lumen!? Nixel cried again. The boy heard the rustling of rubber in the grass, and he knew what was coming. He didn?t have time to react to the rush of freezing cold mountain water that stabbed him in the back, diminishing the flames and stamping them out until they were just ghosts hanging in the air.
Lumen was now very exhausted, cold, and hurting; the pain in his back paled in comparison to the screaming his stomach was doing. He fell over, hot tears streaming down his face, and cool mist descending on to his quivering form.
?What was that bloody thing?!? Nixel demanded, clamping his pincers on to Lumen?s left arm and yanking the boy into the air. By instinct, he thrust his legs beneath him and reached for the ground, landing hard on his feet when Nixel dropped him. The boy?s arm had turned a dark shade of pink from the man?s powerful grip. ?What kind of magic? There?s evil here, I know it.?
There is evil here, Lumen said in his mind, and it?s just you.
?No sir.? Lumen hated Nixel, but he was supposed to honor him. At least the man?s fury would be a little softer. ?I willed the flames to do that.?
Nixel arched his thick brow and smirked. ?You willed them to, eh??
The man swung his heavy boot into Lumen?s bony chest. The boy coughed, his eyes widening in indescribable pain, and fell over backwards. He stilled his breathing to quell the unbearable pain in his ribs; he knew a bunch of them must?ve cracked, if not broke all together.
?You?re nothing special. You have no powers like that. Understand??
Lumen couldn?t respond. He was sobbing, desperate to keep himself from hyperventilating. He wished he could respond, because Nixel would most likely attack him again in his silence. He was correct, too; the man grabbed his son?s arm again?the right one this time?and pulled him up to his feet.
?Lying is not something you want to make a habit of, though I wouldn?t be surprised if you haven?t lied all your life. Get out of my yard, vermin.? Nixel spat, giving the boy one push, and turned away. He entered his house and slammed the door so that the shingles on the roof shook, some dropping to the ground.
Surprisingly, Lumen managed to stay on his feet, in spite of the shove that Nixel gave him. ?He told me to get off his yard,? he sputtered, his ribs kicking his insides, ?so I have a right to run away.? He had tried running away many times before, each attempt ending with a lecture from a policeman and a harsh beating from his father. Once, he was even locked in the cellar for three days, never given anything to eat or drink. Luckily, he found a stock of limp green vegetables in a crate and managed to stay alive.
He started walking towards the woods, unsure of his destination. However, the burning ache his ribs were exploding with acted as his compass: he would visit the Healer of the nearest city.

Ecnamor was one of Nezaria?s largest cities; it was so big that it was divided into smaller villages by long brick walls with parapets atop them. The closest one to Lumen?s forested in home was the littlest of the village segments, one that he had explored many times before?mostly during escape attempts?and knew his way around it like the back of his hand.
Right when he met the end of the woods, the smell of tangy citrus fruit filled his nose. The scent came from the icy drink kiosk, which sold cups full of slush in every kind of flavor imaginable. Lumen had other things on his mind than a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri, however, and his feet took him straight to a wooden hut that looked like it was being constantly repaired. His free hand?one was clutching his throbbing chest?grabbed the wooden doorknob, and he let himself in.
Inside the hut was dimly lit, with waiting chairs lining the room and a long desk, filled with important looking documents, standing empty next to a staircase leading down. No one but the boy was in the waiting room, but he could hear soft talking coming from downstairs. He figured his situation deserved to be treated right away, so he took a deep, painful breath, and descended the steps.
Downstairs, a middle-aged man in white was hunched over a patient, who was laying flat on a cot.
?I swear it, doc, I got no reflexes!? insisted the man, who?s beady eyes were filled with tears.
?Don?t be ridiculous. Sit up.? The doctor grabbed a small gavel and gestured for the patient to behave.
?No! I can?t! You?ll dislocate my knee. I need it for my profession, you see.?
?I?ll do nothing of the sort. This is only a checkup, I have to make sure you?re in working order.?
?I am a working man! The pay is far too low.?
Lumen stifled a small laugh, followed by a cough, making his presence known.
?What in Airth?? exclaimed the doctor, turning his attention towards the boy. Lumen must?ve looked worse than he felt; the man rushed to his side and bent his knees to become the same size, his eyes wide with concern. ?What happened to you, son??
?Fell off a cliff?rolled down, hit rocks??
Lumen could barely get the lie out, he was wheezing and it hurt his chest to speak at all. However, he couldn?t keep quiet, and he couldn?t tell the doctor that his father had beaten him. The consequences of revealing the abusiveness in his father would be far worse than some broken ribs.
?Honestly, kids want to have adventures everyday and all that happens is I have another careless injury to heal. Can?t you be a little more thoughtful, kid??
Lumen responded by groaning and falling over. He wasn?t acting, either.
?Please?? he begged, closing his eyes to create a barrier for tears. The doctor sighed and kneeled down, reaching into his pocket for a sedative.
?Take this,? he ordered, handing Lumen a green herb. Lumen obeyed, and thought that the leaf tasted like his father?s volatile attempts at cooking. Drowsiness rushed into his eyelids, and the sensation of cold hands on his stomach was the last thing he felt.

?Twenty-eight.?
?Twenty-eight??
?Your total.?
Lumen let out a heavy sigh and jammed his hand into his pants pocket. There was not twenty-eight of anything in that empty void.
?I can?t right now. I?m sorry.? He said, twisting his face into an innocent mask of hope. The doctor stared at him, unconvinced.
?You?ll have to pay me somehow, and you?re not leaving this office until you do!?
Lumen sighed again, his hand reluctantly rising to rub a bump beneath his shirt. His eyes closed again, avoiding the hot tears, and he pulled a silver chain from his neck. Dangling on the end of the necklace was an amethyst angel, it?s hands acting as armor to it?s invisible heart. He hadn?t told anyone about this necklace; he found it under a rock in a lake and thought it was a sign of hope. Now he knew that misery would win at everything.
?You can melt the silver, sell the gem or something.? Lumen couldn?t help but let one solitary tear shine on his cheek. Maybe, he thought, maybe if I show my sadness, I won?t have to lie?
?What is it??
Lumen sighed for the third time that hour. Nothing happens the way he wants it to.
?The last heirloom of my father,? he said after a second of fast thought, ?who was the most important person to me. If this goes, I?ll have nothing left to remind me of him.? Waterworks. He had to make it convincing. The doctor saw his tears as solemn memories, and fear of the future. In reality, the boy was forcing thoughts of his real, living father and all the terrible things he had done.
?If it means so much to you?? the doctor said, impatience in his voice, ?then you can leave with it. No charge.?
Lumen took full advantage of his offer and ran out the door.

Ribs fully healed, he was free to run anywhere he wanted. He knew where he wanted to go; Siledar. It was the nearest continent to his own, and it was full of wonder. Or so he had read; the closest he had ever gotten to the beauty of Siledar was through the library. But he yearned to go and settle there, no matter how long or far he had to go. As long as he was where his father couldn?t find him, he was safe.
He was not safe at all.
?Lumen!? came the shout, echoing from the very end of the forest. It filled the boy?s whole body with dread. He saw Nixel coming from the trees, his face contorted into a burning canvas of hate, anger, and insanity. The man repeated his cry, which locked Lumen?s knees. He couldn?t even run away this time.
Nixel arrived, his fists trembling. ?What were you doing out here? Telling everyone that your big bad father beat you to a pulp??
Lumen could only shake his head vigorously. Nixel ignored him, latching his claws on to the boy?s thin wrist and pulling so hard he might?ve meant to release the arm from it?s socket. Somehow, Lumen?s feet remained glued to the ground, causing Nixel to pull harder.
?Come on!? the man ordered, grabbing on to his son?s arm with his other hand. Lumen would not budge. The boy saw an opportunity to react.
Frantic white lightning struck out everywhere, ribbons of electricity lashing every which way and whipping Nixel?s arms. The man screamed in pain and let go of Lumen, who?s hand had stretched open and turned white in effort. The lightning bolts were erupting out of the boy?s palm.
He willed the storm to stop, so it did. He lifted his leg and dashed away, running into the forest with no destination in mind. Forward would take him home. Forward was not an option.
Nixel recovered quickly and began pursuit of his son, closing in fast. Nixel was much faster than Lumen. He leapt into a flying tackle and landed on his target, who screamed and crumpled into a ball.
Then there was an explosion of fire from beneath Nixel, sending him crashing into an ill sycamore and snapping the tree in half. Lumen stood, the flames evaporating, his eyes quivering with hate. Nixel was burned and bruised, standing up from the ground.
?What are you!?? he demanded, closing his fists and tensing his legs. Finally, Lumen had the upper-hand.
?I am in control of the Anima!? he exclaimed, a grin meeting the corners of his mouth. Nixel was scared now, something that had never happened before.
?You?re a liar.?
?I?m not. I am an Animage.?
Nixel was both frightened and furious, his face showing a mix of both emotions. ?Shut up! You?re nothing! You?re just a scrawny little idiot with a few tricks up your sleeves. You don?t control every element, you don?t have anything special about your Psyche!?

Lumen was exhausted. He knew he had tamed fire, air, earth, ice, and water, but he didn?t have the energy to prove it. Nixel was gaining strength in anger, creating a mist of hate between him and his son. There?s nothing left to do but flee, Lumen thought. So he did.
He ran as far as he thought he could go, swerving to avoid trees and leaping to avoid Nixel?s clutches. The boy?s energy was fading fast, and he could hardly keep up the pace, but Nixel?s hot hatred was fueling his adrenaline. He found a new burst of power in his legs and used it to speed ahead. The forest?s other end was coming up fast, the light spreading out from behind the trees, the soft sound of flowing waters met his ears?
He found himself at the bed of a clear blue creek, nothing but green grass and a tree stump with jagged pieces of wood sticking out. That could be used as a weapon, Lumen thought, and hoped that Nixel wouldn?t figure that out. The man burst from the forest and did not slow down, colliding with Lumen. The boy propelled forward, directly on to the sharp stump.
A searing pain shot through his every muscle. His skin was white hot with pain, and his vision was blurring. He couldn?t breathe, speak, or think.
Nixel was silent for once, speechless. This would?ve been a blessing to Lumen?s ears if he wasn?t in agony. He heard the man retreating back into the forest, without so much as a quick look to see if his son was still alive.
I am alive, you twit, Lumen thought, his mind closing down; and I?ll never let you see my end.
Summoning whatever strength he had left in his suffering body, he gripped the sides of the trunk and pushed himself out of the spikes, landing on his back in the crisp grass. His hand gingerly touched the injuries from the stump, feeling warm liquid all over his chest. Of course he?d be bleeding, he was just nearly impaled on a hazardous piece of nature.
If I?m bleeding, I know I?m alive. The dead don?t bleed. The dead don?t think and feel, either. I know I?m alive.
His last thoughts rang out in his ears, and he let out a little smile before closing his eyes and losing consciousness.

?Honestly lad, you need to be more careful!? the doctor exclaimed, wrapping Lumen?s reddened chest in thick gauze. The boy was slowly stirring, unable to take note of his surroundings right away. When he was fully awake, he glanced around to find himself back in the doctor?s office in the village, sprawled on the cot without his shirt.
He tried to speak, which tormented his wounds. He thought to be strong, and he let the words out. ?N-nixel?? He stuttered, his breathes drawing out in short, painful wisps.
?Who??
Lumen realized what he was about to say, that his father had pushed him on to the speared tree stump. He couldn?t tell anyone, or he?d just be worse off.
?Nightmare,? he corrected himself.
?I don?t doubt you had one, a trauma like this. Just what were you doing by that dangerous trunk, anyway?? The doctor finished patching the boy?s wound and had stepped over to his medicine cabinet.
This one took more than a second of thought. Lumen found his creativity block a relief; he was scared how easy it was to lie.
?Does it hurt to talk?? the doctor wanted to know, pulling a vial of small white pills from the cabinet. Lumen was still thinking of a lie, but an idea wormed it?s way into his brain.
?I want to be a paladin,? he began, speaking slowly to pacify his aching injuries, ?so I figured I could start training early. I love that area by the creek, because I can just jump right into it when I?m tired of practicing and it would bring me back to life. I was jumping around today, because I want to be able to jump on a horse without touching it?that seems like a heroic trait to me?and I wasn?t watching where I was landing. I don?t really remember anything else.?
The doctor shook his head, the loose skin on his face wagging like the wattle on a turkey. ?You?re too bizarre for words, kid. Well,? he cleared his throat, turning his composure into that of a professional medical technician, ?I couldn?t stitch any of the wounds, because each one is too close to another and I?d have ended up giving you a bigger incision. The most I could do was dab on some antibacterial potion and wrap you up. It?ll heal on it?s own over time, as long as you keep it clean, but you?ll always have scars there.?
Lumen sighed, staring at the ceiling. He always tried to avoid wounding to the point of scarring. He hated Nixel more than ever.
The doctor pulled a chair over to the cot, unscrewing the cork from the vial and dumping two capsules into his palm. ?Take these, I?ll get you some water.? Lumen obeyed as the doctor went to the sink and filled a paper cup with tap water. He returned, sat down, and gave the cup to Lumen, who drank it in one gulp. He hadn?t realized how hungry or thirsty he was, and had no idea how long it was since he had been unconscious
?How long have I been here?? he asked, the medicine quickly dissolving any pain he had in his chest.
?Two days. You?ve been asleep since the accident. A woodsman found you and brought you here, you?re lucky he was on patrol.?
This answered one of Lumen?s questions; he was curious as to how he had arrived in the doctor?s office. He was sure that the medicine man didn?t make house calls to sick little squirrels in the forest.
?When do you think I?ll be back on my feet??
?My guess is a couple of days. Kids are pretty resilient, and I?ll bet you recover fast if you could survive a thing like that.? The doctor said, smiling in subtle amazement.
Lumen had no more curiosities, and he merely wanted to be alone in thought and sleep. The doctor seemed to read his mind, as he stood and walked upstairs silently.

?I need to report a death.?
Lumen had been out of the doctor?s office for only an hour, and he was all ready hurt again. This time, however, it was self-inflicted; he accidentally tripped over the front steps of the printing house and landed his shoulder on the doorstop. He escaped with a bruise, and ended up sitting in a cushioned chair holding a bag of ice on his new injury.
?I need the name, death date, cause of death, the basics of an obituary.? Said the woman behind the desk. She wore square glasses and had her graying hair pinned into a tight bun. Everything about her seemed crestfallen; even her pointed Elfin ears drooped miserably. Being a printer who hears about all kinds of deaths must be a pretty depressing job.
?Lumen Jade Korangar,? the boy responded, not missing a beat. His plan was to print his own obituary to hide from Nixel. He had to make it convincing, but create a different story than the one he told to the doctor. He still couldn?t reveal the wrath of Nixel, because that would drop suspicions that he was still alive. No one but the dead boy ever knew about Nixel?s temper. He had carefully planned out the tale in his recovery time, memorizing it so that he wouldn?t have to think fast and screw everything up.
?He died four days ago. I found him bleeding to death on the ground, next to a spiky stump. His very last words were ?Death by impalement is not the way I wanted to go. ?Lumen Jade Korangar, killed by a tree stump,? they?d say.? I remember them very clearly, because he pointed his finger at the creek right after he said them, and they seemed really profound for a kid that small. I?d say he was about eleven, maybe. I can only assume that he somehow fell on to the stump and was speared, then somehow got himself off. It?s amazing that he lasted an hour, really.? He said, making sure to show a small amount of sorrow and concern in his face. ?I don?t know anything else about him.?
?What did you do with the body?? the lady wanted to know. Lumen was prepared for any question, especially this one.
?I thought the most noble thing to do was dump it in the creek. I mean, he was pointing towards it right before his spirit departed. I took it as a sign.?
The woman sighed, scribbling so furiously that her quill pen resembled the wing of a baby bird frantically attempting flight. ?Could I at least have a description so the family will know who he is? We obviously can?t do an autopsy now.?
?Yes, I?m sorry.? Lumen felt a little nervous. He couldn?t twist his appearance; Nixel would not be convinced that he was dead. But he couldn?t flat out tell her that he could be the dead boy?s twin, either, that would make him obvious. He was stuck, but weighing out the consequences of either option told him that he would be much safer if he told part of the truth.
?He had thick black hair that reached his shoulders; kind of hid his eyes. He had amazing eyes, too, they looked like ice. He was a little pale, and he had on a blue shirt and black pants.? He hesitated. The woman hadn?t looked at him good since he entered; he needed to finish before she noticed him. ?Uh?sorry, my memory kind of fails me now.?
The woman started to sob. ?Oh, such a little boy! It?s not fair!?
Lumen stared at her, waiting for her to regain composure so he could make a quick exit. ?Are we done here??
She sniffed, removing her glasses and dabbing her wet eyes with a handkerchief. ?Yes, yes, done. Oh wait, what is your name? I need to know who helped record?this?death?? She broke down again. Her weeping spell gave Lumen enough time to think. He hadn?t made up a new name yet, but he was adept at creating aliases.
?Hansel Bilkiss.? That didn?t take long. His ability to lie grabbed his heart with a dark claw.
No sooner had the woman copied down his words than she turned in her swivel chair and let loose a torrent of tears. Lumen saw this as an opportunity to run, so he leapt from his seat and dashed out the door.

Freedom was an amazing feeling. Lumen had never felt so carefree in his whole entire life. He loved running from village to village, escaping Ecnamor by nightfall. His single destination was Siledar, where he hoped to live?not to sound cliché, but he couldn?t think of a better phrase?happily ever after.
He hated the name he thought up in the printing house, so he would find a new one before he made it to the other continent. His journey took him a month into the deepest south of Nezaria and on to a cargo ship headed for the nearest Siledarian harbor. He managed to bribe his way on for free as a cabin boy.
In his spare time on the ship, he would write in the notebook he bought before boarding; the sole purpose was to record his feelings and adventures. He always felt his life would make an interesting memoir, one that he couldn?t publish until Nixel was no longer a threat. He planned to make that happen as soon as possible.
On the very first page in the journal, he scribbled endless lists of possible names to go by. He was still using ?Hansel;? the captain and crew had to call him something. But he wanted to restart his life in Siledar?a new name, a new story.
His imagination was blank once again, and he ended up doodling pictures of stick figures in every empty space on the page.
?Oh well,? he said to himself, dropping his quill and closing the book, ?I don?t have to have a name until I?m born.?
The ship rolled pleasantly on the waves, the hand of the Elfin Barometer on his wall flickering between ?Overcast? and ?Sunny.? He laughed at it?s symbolism.

---

In case I've confused anyone with somethings, I hope this clears it up.

*Anima- the five lesser elements; earth, air, fire, ice, and water. It is rare that any person is born with the Anima in their Psyche.
*Animage- one who controls the Anima.
*Psyche- the part of the spirit that houses an element, normally only one of the Anima. In rare cases, an elf will be born with the Anima in their psyche and will then also spawn one of the two greater elements; light or darkness.

I hope this is not too long, sorry if it is.

I'd really like some feedback, desperately. Anything and everything would be much appreciated! I need to know how to improve it before I turn it in next Monday (August 30, 2005), and maybe even how to start the second part of it (that will also be ready by Monday).
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