Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: lespowell at Morguefile.com
My mother slammed the can of coffee on the counter. “You almost cost me my job, Elena. Out of all the boys in the galaxy and you had to choose, Drycen Mackler, my boss’s son.”
“I said I was sorry.” My eyelids shut, as I took a deep breath to compose myself. Why couldn’t she understand, I was sick of hiding who I was. After a moment, my gaze focused on her.
“People with your kind of power are in high demand. You know how much they sell girls like you for?” Mom shook her finger at me. “I have enough problems supporting you and your sisters without having to deal with the prospect of losing my job. All it takes is for Drycen to get angry and blurt our secret.”
Faint light showed through the dingy window of our two room apartment. God, it wasn’t like I’d asked to have an infinity for fire. And I damn sure didn’t ask Mom to take me to work with her yesterday. I swallowed hard, remembering Drycen’s room. Mom wanted me to help clean the Mackler’s house so she could finish early and get home to make my sister Emily a birthday cake. I was assigned his quarters.
I’d been making his bed, when I heard the whoosh of his washing compartment open. Drycen stepped out, wrapped in a towel. His shaggy dark hair wet, his toned body solid and glistening. Everything happened so quickly. At first he’d seemed startled to find me in his room, then the next thing I knew he kissed me.
That’s when I lost control of my power and set his curtains on fire. We got the flames put out and he promised not to tell anyone. This time he ran his fingers through my hair, kissing me more gently. Of course, his mother chose that moment to walk into his room. The rest, as they say, was history. His mom freaked about him being with the maid’s daughter, my mom freaked when she noticed the charred curtains. Luckily, Mom got a way with a warning and was told not to bring me to work again. Unfortunately for the both of them, I’d still see him tomorrow.
Drycen and I went to the Air Academy together, where we both trained to be ship pilots. I was there on a full scholarship, while his parents paid the ridiculous tuition. Although, if anyone discovered my abilities, I’d likely be sent out to Centurion One, a space station where they kept and sold people like me to the highest bidder.
“Mom, can we just drop it?”
She scowled. “Good idea. Why don’t you watch your sisters while I run to the market to fetch more eggs.”
I watched as she slipped a laser into her side pocket, then punch in the code on the number pad to let herself out of the apartment.
When she was gone, my sister Talia plopped down on the couch and smiled. “So, I heard Drycen kissed you?”
My cheeks warmed. “Yeah.” At sixteen, it was about time something like this happened to me. But it wasn’t something I wanted to explain to my fourteen year old sister.
“Mom about shit herself.” She laughed. “I heard her on the intercom with someone right after you got home. She was mad.”
“I’m surprised she didn’t call Aunt Suzette on Mars, to see if they’d take me in,” I snorted. “If it wasn’t for my scholarship, I’d probably be on the first ship out.”
Talia patted my hand. “She’ll simmer down, give her a few days. Besides, if you landed Drycen, her financial worries would be over.”
If only. But right now, I had to concentrate on graduating the academy or I’d be stuck working as a maid, like Mom.
“I need you to run an errand for me before school,” Mom said, handing me a large package. “You’ll want the last door on your left at the subway station.”
“What is it?”
“None of your business. Now go tell your sisters goodbye.” Mom ushered me to the lone bedroom where Talia was wiping back tears.
“Nothing.” She sniffled. “Just banged my ankle on the dresser.”
I grinned. Once I gave them each a hug, I left the apartment with the package in hand. I crossed the busy street, avoiding robots and humans alike as they moved toward the subway system. The scent of rocket-fuel hung heavy in the air, as ships buzzed by overhead. Transportation for the rich, while the rest of us suffered the subway.
My gaze faltered as I stared at the missing person posters that were plastered along the subway entrance. Most of them had likely been sold. With a shiver, I quickened my pace, fingering the knife in my pocket. Soon, I pushed through the crowds in the terminal, searching for the door my mother told me to find.
I went down a dark tunnel the air cold and damp. After a moment, I found the last door and gave a knock. A hooded figure answered and behind him, I saw several people in shackles and cages. Oh God.
Before I could run, someone struck me over the head. Mom had betrayed me.
When I came too, I was chained and sitting on a podium beneath the subway. Lined up next to me were some of the others.
“The first magic-born up for bid, comes to us from the Academy. Elena Bartok is a pilot, and also has skills as a fire wielder. Our starting price for her is $50,000.00.” A man in a suit hollered.
Below, I watched the crowd begin to chatter. I saw a paddle go up in the back. Number 261. Then the man asked for more bids. Soon the price was up to $200,000. Oh God. These people were crazy. Fear engulfed me like a forest fire when the gavel came down.
“Sold to number 266. Please come around to the west bay to collect your prize.”
Someone jerked me up by the arms, and shoved me down a corridor. At first, I tried to get away, but the shackles kept me from running.
My cloaked buyer, handed the cash over to my captor, then took the key for my shackles.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked as I was led to a large ship on the outskirts of town.
But the man didn’t answer. Soon we loaded the ship, where my cuffs were finally taken off. The cloaked man turned to me and lowered his hood. Drycen.
“Sorry,” he said. “But it was the only way.”
“My mother sold me to you?”
“Actually, both our parents decided it was best if we left Earth. My mom couldn’t stand the idea of me being in love with her maid’s daughter—she has a reputation to uphold, or so she says.” Drycen ushered me to the cockpit. “I assured her my feelings wouldn’t change, so Dad suggested they buy me a ship and let me do what I want. But your mother wouldn’t let you go for free.”
“She has to support my sisters,” I said in her defense. “I’m sure your parents weren’t likely to keep her on after catching us.”
He nodded his agreement. “They said they’d agree to a payoff for her silence, but that no one was to know. Since they didn’t want anyone tracing the money back to them, they decided to use a middle man—the auctioneer.”
“So now what?” My gaze shifted to him as I sat in the co-pilot seat.
“Now, you’re mine. We no longer have to sneak around. Out here,” he gestured to the ship. “We’re equals.”
Tears welled in my eyes, as I clasped his hand. In one swift movement he gathered me in his arms, his lips branded mine.
Finally, I belonged.