• We stepped out of the portal into a small clearing covered in grass, flowers, and sticks and surrounded by trees. The sky was just starting to get lighter, the birds were chirping in the distance, and the whole clearing smelled of fresh air and plant-life…instead of trash and old ashes. I stared around in shock; the place we were standing in before was an old, dirty picnic site. This was weird.
    But then again…we did just walk through a portal that appeared out of thin air.
    Congratulations Kara, I thought, staring at the sky. You’ve finally got yourself into the adventure you’d been dreaming about!

    Kalin checked his watch again and looked around. “Hmm, they must be late. Leen’s not one to be late though.”

    “Where are they coming from?” I asked.

    “Earth, like you,” was his response.

    “What do you mean?” I said confused.

    “Kara we’re not on Earth anymore. This is Naranda.” He said it so causally, like it was so obvious or something. I opened my mouth to say something but was distracted by a tear that appeared ahead of me. A man and a girl came out of the portal. The man was wearing a skull cap and a lot of layers of loose fitting clothing, but he seemed to feel awkward wearing it, and he looked like he felt. The girl was slightly chubby, had brown eyes, long, dark, curly brown hair in a ponytail, light brown skin, and a nervous expression. She was wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, and brown boots.

    “Venn,” Kalin called out to the man, “things went well?”

    “Where is Leen?” The man named Venn asked. His voice was low and it almost sounded more like a mumble.

    Kalin shrugged.

    The girl looked around the clearing, and then she looked at me. “Hi.” She said and smiled.

    I threw on a weak smile in response. “Are you—” I was cut off again by another portal opening. This time a woman and a boy came out.

    “About time,” Kalin said rushing over to them. “What took so long?”

    “A minor discrepancy…” The woman replied pulling off the hood of her coat to reveal blonde hair.

    “There was a crossing guard holding up traffic so we had to go around, something about the street being closed.” The boy explained. “Don’t know why though, it looked okay.”

    The woman looked from me, to the other girl. “That is everyone except Elex.”

    “We need to find her, and go.” The man, Venn, stated.

    “Yeah, but she could be anywhere…why does she always do this…” Kalin sighed. “Listen, you three stay here. Venn, Leen, and I have to find Elex. Just get to know each other, we’ll be back soon. He told the three of us as they left the clearing in different directions.

    We all stared at each other in silence, like some awkward party gone wrong. “Anyone else lost and confused?” I asked. They nodded. “Well whatever happens I guess we’ll be together for a long time so…I’m Kara.”

    “I’m Leeann.” The girl said.

    “Justin.” The boy replied. He had short, spiky blonde hair, blue eyes and freckles. I also noticed he wore braces. And to top off the geek look, he wore a white T-shirt and plain blue jeans with white shoes…your basic blend-into-the-background kinda kid, which was probably best for him, ‘cause he looked like the kind who would get picked off by bullies on a daily basis. Neither of the two looked like Wizards or anyone out of the ordinary, but then I probably didn’t either.

    “So what are your powers?” Leeann asked us.

    “I can see the future as far as I know.” The boy replied, shoving his hands into his pockets. “…And maybe read minds I guess.”

    I shrugged. “No clue.” I said, once again feeling behind everyone else. “You?”

    “Oh.” Leeann replied. “I can control fire, and ice.”

    “Really, no way!” I exclaimed. “Show us some!”

    “Well…I don’t know…” She replied, looking around nervously. “It-It’s kinda dangerous, and can get out of control really quick.”

    “Can’t you do something really small?” Justin asked, also interested.

    Leeann stared away in thought, and then nodded. She held her right hand out and cupped her other one around the air over it like she was trying to control something. Justin and I watched as a very tiny light appeared to open up out of the air just above the middle of her palm. The light started to flare brighter and larger until it was about as big as her thumb and flickered like the flame from a lighter.

    “Cool!” I cried, surprising Leeann. The fire sparked and jumped higher and she quickly closed her hand on it to put it out, making a hissing sound and sending a line of smoke from inside her hands. When she opened them slowly, all that was left was a tiny puff of smoke.

    “Sorry,” I apologized shrugging, “didn’t mean to scare you.”

    “It’s okay. I still had control over it.” Leeann answered, smiling to show me it was okay.

    “How long have you known about your powers?” Justin asked her.

    “Um…since I was seven, when I accidentally set my brother on fire.”

    I snickered. “Set your brother on fire!” Leeann and Justin both laughed.

    “Yeah, I guess it is pretty funny once I think about it.” She giggled then stopped. “Well, he didn’t find it so funny though.”

    “That’s pretty young, but they didn’t have a choice right.” Justin said. “I found out about my powers when I was about ten, but I didn’t learn about this until like, yesterday.”

    “You too huh?” I said to him. “Well at least your parents told you…mine wouldn’t even say anything to me. I had to listen in!”

    “My parents told me everything at once. I guess they thought it was better that way.” Leeann said. “It was mostly confusing though.”

    “Mm…” I felt odd and left-out. Mom and Dad never told me anything about my powers; they just acted like everything was normal. I was starting to feel really jealous and envious. Once I finished stewing in my jealously, I realized that Leeann and Justin were still talking.

    “—was weird. My mom wakes me up at like, three in the morning, makes me get dressed, and tells me its time for me to go. Then she introduces me to that woman – Leen, and sends me off just like that!” Justin explained.

    “Really?” Leeann asked. “My parents took me that night to see my grandparents. We stayed there ‘til twelve then came home and stayed up all night. When Venn came for me, they said their goodbyes and we left.”

    “Wow, wasn’t that a little much?” I commented.

    Leeann shook her head in disagreement. “No, I don’t think so.”

    “What about you Kara? Your parents didn’t say anything to you at all?” Justin asked me. “They didn’t even hint at it?”

    “Well…after we got home, no one ever said anything to me. Like I said, I overheard them talking and then that guy, Kalin, knocked on my door around three in the morning scaring the crap outta me.”

    Justin nodded in agreement. “I wish they’d tell us everything and stop keeping secrets it’s kinda frustrating.”

    “Well if you’re the psychic, can’t you like, see this stuff coming?” I asked him.
    Justin gave me a dirty look. “No.”

    “Geez, just asking…don’t know why you’re taking offense…” I mumbled. I was in a bad mood, and had every right to be so. I don’t know what his problem was.

    “Rude red-headed…” Justin grumbled something else under his breath. I turned to tell him off, but Leeann cut me off before I could say anything.

    “I wonder who this Elex is.” She said quickly changing the conversation.

    Justin stared hard at me for a moment. Then he shrugged and crossed his arms. “The name sounds really familiar though.”

    “Is he from here…or Earth?” I wondered to myself.

    “Elex is a she, I think.” Leeann corrected.

    “Oh, right. Well judging by us so far,” I observed putting my hands on my hips, “she’s probably pretty ordinary like us, and with little or no clue about what’s going on or her powers—”

    I was cut off by a whistling sound and Leeann’s yelp. “Leeann! Justin called out and ran over to her.

    “I can’t move!” She cried.

    I walked over to take a look. The reason she couldn’t move was because there was an arrow lodged into her shirt and the tree behind her. It was close enough to her shoulder to keep her from moving far, but just missed her skin.

    “What the…” Justin cried, trying to pull the arrow out. “It’s stuck!”

    “What? Lemme see.” I pushed Justin out of the way and pulled at the arrow. “Come on already. Give!” I yelled pulling with all my strength, but it wouldn’t budge. Something like that shouldn’t even be possible. “Hey if we both pull I think we can—”

    “Look out!” Justin yelled and shoved me to the side, just as an arrow flew past and stuck itself next to Leeann’s head. “You okay?” He asked standing up. I started to reply, but an arrow pinned him to a tree by his shoulder.

    “Hey!” I gasped rushing over to help, but something large and fast crashed into me, knocking me to the ground. “Ahh!” I cried as I fell on my back. Whatever it was, was making me REALLY mad.

    The shadow turned out to be a person attacking me! I wrestled them, trying to throw them off of me but it was no good. I’m pretty strong, but whoever it was knew what they were doing.

    “KARA!” I heard Justin and Leeann scream as I was punched in the face. In my temporary confusion and increasing anger, they took out a dagger and tried to stab me. I cried out as the dagger sliced my shoulder, tearing my shirt. I managed to move, but only just enough to receive that cut, which I could feel now bleeding all over my favorite shirt. The moment I could get my hand free, they were in for it!

    I twisted my wrist and pulled my hand free, and punched my attacker hard across the face, busting their lip, but it didn’t get them off of me. The attacker hit me again and pinned me down so I couldn’t use my arms, but I was able to see who it was better: it was a young girl with pink-colored irises, long pink hair, and a murderous look in her eyes.

    “Illusionist,” she said raising the dagger, “now you shall die!”