"It's a boy," the nurse told her, holding out the tiny creature.
Her eyes widened. "I-"
"You thought it was going to be a girl," the nurse said quietly. "It must've changed, somehow, somewhere."
The father looked at his wife. "Don't look so surprised. Babies do that."
"Not real human babies!" the wife hissed back, so the nurse couldn't hear.
"What will you name him?" the nurse asked.
"I don't know," the mother replied. "All I know is that I love him more than anything."
The nurse nodded and left the room.
"I think it should be Flame," the father said.
"Flame?" the mother repeated. "No."
The father sighed.
"Lex," the mother said quietly. "The protector of men."
- One has dared to show.
- One has dared... Lex thinks as he walks to the center. He hears a couple of whispers. "He just wants attention." "He's done weird things before."
- All grow into a sea of negativity. One that Lex must shape into waves of positivity.
- This will be easy, he thinks.
- "Back up!" he commands. His low, commanding voice rings throughout the gym, where he is located.
- One kid out of many snorts, the rest begin to laugh.
- Except for one. One steps respectfally backwards.
- "Thank you," Lex mouths. Louder, he yells, "I said, back up! I need room!"
- The crowd shuffles back.
- "Thank you," Lex says.
- He raises his hand.
- Fire bursts from his fingers...
- Lex is shunned.
- I gasped and shot up. No, I think, no. I can't tell anybody...
- But I already had. I told that one boy in my struggle for power.
- He was in my dream. The one that snorted.
- And he told to show everybody...
- Today is the day. The principal has called the entire school together. About 200 kids. The entire school is in the outdoor gym, used for field day and sports teams. There are many predators in the area, too many to take a risk...
- And an outward display of fire. From a human? No. Wrong. That is shameful. Shun-able. Horrifying...
- And yet I have volunteered to take the risk...
- The noise coming form the crowd is loud. All gossiping. Not about me, but... her.
- I tone into a conversation. She has apparently made her eyes turn to flames.
- "They looked so warm and comforting," a boy says. "Like a hearth."
- A girl replies, "It was still scary..."
- "Terrifyingly beautiful," the boy spits back. He turns his back to the girl. The conversation is over.
- The principal steps to the center of the grassy floor, next to where I am standing. He nods at me and reverst his gaze to the other, normal, students.
- I am already shunned.
- The principal speaks. "Lex has volunteered to show us fire."
- "I've seen fire!" An obese boy stands. His eyes are red, bloodshot.
- "Calm down, boy!" the principal spits. "We don't need your comments."
- The boy has apparently said the right thing. Kids stand up and shout, pointing at me, and the obese boy.
- I can't take this war.
- I raise my hand, palm flat, facing towards the sky.
- Fire bursts from my fingers.
- Only by one, I am shunned.
- "Lex..." the woman begins, pausing at my last name.
- "It's Greek," I say quickly.
- She nods. "Mine isn't..." She introduces herself as Mrs. Hoberman just as her cell phone rings.
- "Yes," Mrs. Hoberman says. "I've got him."
- 'Him' must be me, I think.
- "No," Mrs. Hoberman growls. "I will send him to you when he is ready!" She snaps the phone shut and glares at me. "Don't evesdrop!" she shouts.
- I hold my hands up in surrender. "No, ma'am," I mumble.
- For a while we sit quietly, then I become overwhelmed in my thoughts. "What should I be ready for?" I ask out loud.
- Mrs. Hoberman sighs. "For your realization. You do know that your fire is not natural?"
- "Realization?" I ask dubiously. "What?"
- "Your fire isn't natural to humans," Mrs. Hoberman explains gently. "You're not... entirely human."
- "Then what am I?" I ask. My voice is high as I continue, "I want to fit in!"
- Mrs. Hoberman smiles. "Do you know the Olympian Gods?"
- "Of course." I've known them since I was a baby.
- "Zeus..." Mrs. Hoberman says. "Hestia..."
- I nod. "Zeus has that lightning bolt... Hestia is the Goddess of the Hearth, and she gave up her throne for Dionysus, making the Council uneven."
- Mrs. Hoberman smiles. "Some children have one god as their parent. They're demigods. Half human, half god."
- I nod. "Am I?"
- "Not necessarily..." Mrs. Hoberman shakes her head. Her voice, to my surprise, is still gentle.
- "Then why are you telling me this?" I ask. My voice is high-pitched again.
- "To give you a feel of things," Mrs. Hoberman says curtly. "Must you question everything I do?"
- I hold up my hands again. "I'm sorry, ma'am."
- Her voice softens as she continued. "You're not like normal children."
- "I'm not like normal children..." I echo. Duh, I think, but I don't dare say it out loud.
- Mrs. Hoberman says, "Lex, you are the son of Zeus and Hestia. You are the God of Fire."
- I explode. "What?"
- "Yes," Mrs. Hoberman says gravely. "You are a greek god, the protector of men. Isn't that what Lex means?"
More coming soon!