Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Flash Fiction: Balancing Act by A.B. Shepherd #flashfiction #amwriting

Choose wisely. The fate of the world is in your hands.

These thoughts echoed through her head constantly. How could so much responsibility fall to one so young? She was only ten years old, but wise beyond her years. Even so, the consequences of making the wrong choice were too dire to comtemplate.

Choose one brother over the other. She loved them both. Had always loved them both. They shared her blood.  But they were powerful. Their battle for dominance grew stronger with each passing day.

It was getting worse. And more damage was being done. People and animals were being hurt and killed. Homes and buildings destroyed. It was a war - between brothers - between twins - between good and evil. Between teenagers who could control the elements and more.

It must end today. The damages were too severe.

The sky grew dark and ominous. The force of her brothers' clash reigned throughout the town. Gale force winds blew, fire balls flew. Only she and the twins stood despite the forced around them.

Not far away, under the rubble of the fallen school building, lay the body of her fifth grade teacher, and the school principal. On the next block the home of her best friend had collapsed and crushed not only her friend, but her friend's entire family.

She watched in distress, tears staining her face, her body trembling.

She stood amongst the ruins of what had once been her home town. Her eyes burned from the smoke of the flames amongst the rubble, while ironically water gushed fifty feet in the air from broken fire hydrants.

It was now. She must decide. The final conflict raged. One brother raising his hand, calling up powerful elemental forces, holding them but holding back using them. He called to her. "Join me little sister. Imagine all we could do. Imagine how much power we could share. You feel it too. It's me you must choose."

He was right. She did feel the power. It was within her as well. But she didn't want to destroy. Destruction meant pain.

The other brother stood at the ready. He would try to counteract any damage his twin would inflict. He had power equal to the force of his other half. He didn't want to hurt - he wanted to heal.

"Do not choose him sister. He wishes only to rule and inflict torment. You must choose me, not for my sake but for the sake of the people. They're hurting. We can fix everything, together, but only if you choose me."

They both watched her, anticipating which one she would favor. Her heart was breaking.

They had always looked after her, played with her, let her tag along with them. They had loved her, and read to her, and cuddled her. How could she choose one and lose the other one forever?

Her eyes overflowed. They stepped toward her, each holding out his hand. Power? Or peace?

The voice in her head echoed. You know what to do. Make the right choice.

Both stood in front of her now, hands outstretched within reach of her own. "Sister, please," they simultaneously spoke.

She looked deeply into each boy's eyes. Eyed each hand in turn. She looked up at the sky, then closed her eyes and murmured, "Please help me."

A sense of calm came over her, and suddenly she knew. It was so easy now.

She reached out slowly, taking a step forward.

She grasped the hand...of each of them. She held both brothers hands in hers. A painful shock zapped through her, as if lightning had entered the top of her head and was exiting her body through her hands. She screamed in anguish, her head thrown back.

A sudden wind whipped through the remnants of their town, pushing her body backward, but she clung tightly to both her brothers' hands, and twined her fingers with theirs for a stronger grip. They tried to pull away from her, the painful shock zapping through them as well, but she wouldn't let go. Her strength was that of ten men.

As they fought to be free of her, the energy from their joined bodies shot outward in a powerful burst.

The debris of the fallen buildings began flying around the three, the fires extinguished, the spraying water receded.

The school began to rebuild itself, the other buildings did the same. Rain began to pound from the sky, washing clean the ash and smoke.

The people who'd been crushed and killed were somehow alive, walking out into the street, staring up at the rain. They began to dance in it, splashing in the rapidly forming puddles like children.

Soon the town looked like home again. Like nothing bad had ever happened. Like no struggle had ever taken place. Like there had never been a war between brothers - between good and evil.

"There is no light without darkness. No joy without sorrow. We must have both. Balance. It's all about balance," she said. The rain stopped. She smiled and the sun broke through the clouds, beaming down on all of them.

She let go of the hands of her brothers and walked home, her best friend skipping along beside her.

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