Smoke. That was the first thing I smelled. I bolted upright in my bed, hair plastered to the back of my neck, and scanned my room for the source of the acrid stench. I didn’t have to search for long. My entire house, or what I could see of it, was up in flames. I vaulted out of my bed and sprinted the two steps to my bedroom door. Without thinking, I grabbed the
door handle and immediately recoiled from the intense heat. That’s when I started to panic. There was no way out. The walls were coming down around me, and I was trapped. I turned in a circle, trying to find something to aid in my escape. The windows were gone. I guess they blew out from the heat. I had no other option. Taking a running start, I dove through the second story window. I landed on my side, amid the broken glass from my windows and the sharp pebbles that made up our back porch. I took a moment to catch
my breath, and assess the damage done from the fall. I felt, more than heard, the explosion behind me. The sudden wave of heat was so intense that I started to see spots dancing in my eyes. That’s when I passed out.
I woke up to the overpowering smell of antiseptic, and the bright florescent lights
of a hospital. I tried to move my arms, but I was still too weak. I struggled against my sluggish movements.
“Oh good, you’re awake,” I heard. I tried to roll my head around to see to whom I was talking, but I couldn’t move my neck much.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?”
“Calm down,” the speaker told me, as he leaned his face into my line of sight, “I was called in after the fire at your house.”
/Fire… Oh right! Leave it to me to let the house burn down the house the one time my
parents leave me alone./
“What about it?” I asked him.
“The fire in your house… Its traces originated in your room.” I felt a sudden wave of panic.
/Does he think I’m an arsonist, or something?/
“Well, I assure you, I wasn’t playing with matches, or anything of the sort,” I said.
“I know. That fire was no candle that got out of control. You created it. Your entire house caught fire at once. Matches can’t do that. Flamethrowers can’t do that. Hell, it would take a practiced A or S-Class pyrokinetic to instantly ignite an entire house at once. So, either you pissed off Madman, or you’ve got some decent magic potential.”
My face paled. “You’re nuts.” He grinned, and sat in a chair next to my bed.
“Nah. I’m not kidding. Have you taken your MET yet?”
“No, I take it next week.”
“Good. I’ll be there.” And with that, he walked out of the room.
“Number 25!” I stood up as I heard my number called. I hobbled over to the door to the exam room, dragging my backpack along with me. It turns out I had fractured my ankle when I jumped out the window, and the past week hadn’t exactly been great. Never mind that now, I had to focus. I was taking the MET, Magic Evaluation Test, at school. The MET is a test designed to detect basic magical abilities. It was a requirement now, had been since
2017. They needed to know which students were capable of magic, and which were not. The scoring is pretty simple. It’s on a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest. They evaluate you in several areas, elementals being the first. You’re placed in front of representations of the four elements, and one or two reacts. Depending on the strength of the reaction, you get a score.Then, they allow you to “choose” a specialty area that you think you may have a particular talent in. This is scored on a scale of one to
As I entered the room, I immediately recognized the man from the hospital. He was seated at a table in the center of the room. Along with him were three other people. One was a severe looking woman with very short hair, almost white in color. She wore a large black robe, akin to the ones judges wear in court. The next was an elderly man wearing a
business suit. The third was a woman with floor length jet-black hair. She had completely white skin, and wore all black clothing as a contrast. It was very unsettling. The man from the hospital was the most casually dressed, wearing jeans and a normal shirt. It was the woman in the judges robe that spoke.
“State your name.”
“You may begin.” She gestured at the table in front of me.
There were four bowls on the table. There was a clear glass bowl with water in it, a wooden bowl filled with dirt, a stone bowl filled with coal, and a fourth, empty, bowl. I was
completely at a loss as to what I was going to do. I had no magic. Almost as if the idea had been shoved into my head, I remembered what the man from the hospital had told me, “That was no candle that got out of control. You created it.” I looked at the coals, and thought of fire. The response was immediate, and violent. The coals burst into flames. They rose higher still, spitting sparks, and the ends began to touch the ceiling.
/Stop/, I thought, but they just grew stronger. I shouted, “Stop!” The flames only grew. The heat was intense, almost as hot as the fire in my house. The fire spread out onto the table, hungry for more to consume, and then suddenly went out. I saw the man from the hospital standing behind the table with both of his hands raised, palms up, towards the fire. “Thank you for that demonstration. You may now move on to your specialty.” I had no idea what I was going to do. I hadn’t given the primary much thought, let alone the specialty. I didn’t have time to think about it now, so I just walked over to a random one. It was a large star, surrounded by a circle drawn on the floor with chalk, with a book lying open next to it. I picked up the book, opened to a random page, and started reading.
“Et ad congregandum
Eos coram me.”
A wind rushed through the room, and a black cloud began to congregate in the center of the star. I could hear it whispering to me. I was suddenly filled with a cold dread, and I
was afraid. My curiosity got the better of me, and I stepped closer, wanting to hear what it said. I had almost crossed the edge of the circle, when the man from the hospital jumped up and started chanting.
That’s all I caught of the chant before the wind picked up, drowning out his words. When he finished, the cloud started screeching, then disappeared. “What was that?” I asked.
“Thank you for your time, you may go.”
“You may go.”
I left the room shaking my head in confusion.
/What just happened?/