“And they lived happily ever after.” Mom closed the book and tucked nine-year-old me in.
“Mom, will I live happily ever after?” I ask, watching my mother straighten out the covers and lean over me and kiss my forehead.
“Yes, my sweetheart. All heroes live happily ever after. Now good night, my little hero.”
I giggled and my mother leaves the room, leaving the door open a little. Light shines in from the hall. I start to drift off, slowly going to sleep.
For some reason, I’m awake. But I can’t see a thing. I start to cough. It smells really bad, like burning wood. Fire.
I crawl off my bed and start to feel really hot. I feel like I need to just lay down.
I hear loud noises and I keep coughing. Into the haze I see a person bounding towards me. I’m too tired to move away.
He scoops me up and we make our way out of the house.
I don’t remember the hospital, but I do remember why no family wanted me. I was a freak, a mutation, a monster.
While I was in the hospital, I had 3rd degree burns up and down my arms, legs and torso. Every where there were burns, my skin was replaced with wood.
As I healed, my skin went back to normal, but no one wanted me. I didn’t go into the foster care system. I was small, but I knew everyone who loved me was dead. I ran away. I left for the forest.
For some reason, I always felt at home in the woods. With the trees keeping me safe, I felt at home.
Years went by. I learned my own way through the forest, picking up which things to eat, where to get shelter. I made friends with the animals, I kept to myself.
As I stayed in the forest, I learned a big piece of myself. The reason I turned into something different: I was something different. I was what my parents had only read to me in stories; I was a wood nymph.
My power was extraordinary. I could morph into the trees. I can be one tree, concentrate, and be another tree on the other side of the forest.
I am linked to the trees, and the trees are in me.
I finally made my way back into civilization. The woods were just outside town and I figured it was time to explore.
Stepping out of the forest two years ago was harder than losing my parents. I had found a home that accepted me. Now, I was putting myself out into the open.
I walked the sidewalks down to the local park. It was filled with luscious green grass and giant maple trees.
Kids played on the playground and shrieked happily. Moms sat on benches and talked to one another. Dog owners walked their companions.
I faded into a tree and watched them all, unaware that I was being watched too.
Sitting in the far corner of the playground underneath a weeping willow tree was a boy. A boy, that I would find out later, had something in common with me. A special power. I came to know him as Maker.
For a little while I stayed there, in the midst of the fun. But soon the fun stopped. I got a chill. When I looked around, I spotted him there, just watching me. I had to leave.
I seemed to melt off the tree as I started to dash away. I ran down the sidewalk to my refuge, oblivious of the trail I was leaving. As I got nervous, little dandelions popped up in the path where I walked, leaving a tell-tale sign of where I had been.
Maker later told me that this was the way he had found me in the woods. He had followed me and that’s where he told me about his power.
That was when I found my family. The ones who took me in and showed me how to be fearless with my power.
Looking back on those days almost two years ago really teaches me things. I was so young back then. So scared and inexperienced. But now, I am one with the power inside of me.
I still live at home with the trees. Maker has a knack for just ‘making’ things out of the ground. Thanks to him I have a giant tree house. Maker and I always hang out in the trees.
We talk and make jokes. He introduced me to some people like me. They each have a special power.
Suspense can manipulate gravity. He walks on the ceilings and runs on the walls.
Mend can heal even the fiercest of wounds with just a touch of her blessed hands.
Dragon can breath fire.
I couldn’t even look at Dragon for the longest time. The things that fire had done to me? No. There was no way I could even talk to this fire wielder. It was like betraying my own family.
Maker sensed that I had troubles being around Dragon. When Dragon would blow on his hands and fire would whoosh around him, I would tense up. The remembrance of the smoky haze was just too much.
Maker took me outside to my tree house hidden up in the trees.
“You okay?” He asks.
“Yeah,” I shake my head. “I’ll be fine.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” Maker asks.
“All right, then.” He runs his hands through my hair while I lean on his chest. His hand traces my leafy crown that runs through my brown hair.
We stay like this throughout the evening, his chest slowly going up and down lulls me to sleep.
I’ve been with the group of powers for a long time now. There are plenty more kids like us. Endless powers that difference us from the normal. We are the heroes of our own stories.