Amber hummed along to the radio.
The eight-year-old was on her way to the airport with her family, sending off the Bennett family’s only son to Hawaii for three weeks.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon. You’ll be fine,” Spencer whispered in his little sister’s ear, reassuring her. He knew she was worried about him being away, but he would not give up this trip. It was a once in a long time opportunity. After years of studying, he would finally be able to put his Hawaiian to use.
“I hope so,” Amber replied.
Spencer stayed quiet for a minute. There was a lot more to this then just going to use is Hawaiian.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” Spencer asked
“I don’t know.”
“’Kay, whatever.” He paused, and watched his little sister for a minute. She was special, and not always in the good way.
The taxi driver drove them in silence the rest of the way to the airport, watching the girl out of the corner of his eye. He’d seen her before.
Ralph was Spencer’s biological father. He was moody, and didn’t care for Amber much. He didn’t like the idea of adoption. He found, after having Amber two years, that adoption was an adventure, at least.
Lu, his wife, was a calm, quiet ladylike woman, keeping Ralph’s temper in check. He often lashed out, furious at Amber. She had caused them amounts of trouble over the year, in varying sizes. So far the worst she had done was cause the neighbors a tantrum, a lone silhouette wandering around in the middle of the night. Soon after calling the cops, they found the young girl.
Amber was a free spirit. She also wasn’t a human spirit. Having the ability to control plants, water, fire, and ice proved that. Spencer was the only other person who knew about what Amber could do. Whenever she was in human form she had straight, light brown hair, and deep brown eyes. Freckles dusted across her olive cheeks, and her hands and feet were rough and calloused.
When she was in her ‘unnatural’ –as she and Spencer called it— state she had dark black hair, and ruby red eyes. She was more muscular, a bit taller, and seemed to almost glow. But she didn’t have full control over her unexpected abilities. She tried not to use them, but it was hard. She would sneak out to try to practice now and again, but she rarely had the time or energy.
That night, after the airport, the rest of the family went out to dinner. By the time they arrived home, it was late, and Amber went to bed immediately.
Weeks passed, the family’s life at home continued normally. Spencer would call and recount his experiences. His host family was very kind, and he was becoming friends with the middle brother.
“He’s pretty nice,” Spencer explained. “There are three boys, Kahikina the oldest is seventeen, Hani is the middle and fourteen, and Makana is the youngest, only two years older then you.”
“Say something else in Hawaiian!” Amber begged.
“Um, okay. Pehea e pili ana i keia mea?”
“What did you say?”
“Never mind. How’s it going down in Orlando?” Spencer asked.
The Bennett Family lived in Orlando, Florida, in the suburbs. They lived in a smaller house, and people often asked them how often they’d been to Disney, Sea World, Universal and other theme parks. Amber had never, while the rest of the family had been to Disney twice, and that was it. Money was getting tighter, as Lu had just lost her job.
“Good, I guess. Nothing very interesting is happening. Lu is still looking for a new job. I think she’s going to give her resume to Siemens,” Amber said.
Amber refused to call any of her adopted parents ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’. She didn’t think they deserved the respect, so she often just called them by their first names. Or nicknames. Often she called Ralph ‘Jerk-Face’ or ‘The Soulless One’. Spencer had no idea where she picked these names up, but he didn’t care all that much. But it did make his parents, Dad especially, annoyed.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to know about that,” Spencer noted.
“Well, I’m not, but I know about it anyways. Ralph was having a fit about it last night, so that’s how I know.”
Most of their conversations were quick as these, but they had multiple a day, so Spencer let it slide.
The next day Spencer was to come home. Amber was energized.
“How long?” She asked for the, what it felt like to Lu, millionth time.
“How about you go outside, burn off some of the excitement?” Lu suggested.
She paused, and gave Lu a curios look, which bothered Lu a bit. Eight-year-olds weren’t supposed to question their mothers. They were supposed to do as they were told.
“Alright,” Amber said, picking her words carefully. Then she darted outdoors, happy for the fresh air.
Amber picked her way through the trees, making her was down to the lake. She hadn’t used her strange abilities the whole time Spencer was away, but she decided she ought to try now. She knew that eventually, Spencer wouldn’t be home all the time. He’d go to college, get a girlfriend, get married, and Amber would be on her own again. But that was okay, as long as she could talk to Spencer.
By the time Amber had reached the crystal clear waters, the sun had set. Darkness webbed throughout the trees, making itself at home, and the moon glancing down at its newfound territory.
Amber touched the water’s edge, watching the ripples race away from her fingertips. Amber often wondered who her real parents were. Why had they gotten rid of her? Did she have any siblings? And did they have powers too? Amber obsessed over that question. Hundreds sprouted from that inquiry.
Quickly, she turned, to find Lu staring at her from glassy eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Amber inquired, surprised Lu would cry. Sure, she was emotional, but what was there to be dejected like Lu was now?
“I— oh Amber! It’s too terrible,” Lu stepped forward, to the rock Amber sat upon, setting her arm across Amber’s shoulders. “Spencer . . . He—”
“What happened to my brother?” Amber yelped, standing up briskly. Something had gone horribly wrong in Hawaii. Thomas warned her, but she had figured her ghoulish friend wasn’t talking about her brother.
“She not just your brother, child!” Lu chided.
“What happened,?” Amber growled, lowering her voice in as though she was threatening a little bit more than being mad at Lu, again.
“Do not use that tone on me, girl. Now as for Spencer—” her voice cracked. “The plane back from Hawaii crashed into the Pacific, and no one has come out.”
Amber stared at Lu for a solid minute, emotions running through her mind at a hundred miles an hour. Then she ran.
I’m sorry about the last cliff hanger . . . Here, have another! Part three will be coming soon.
Amelika I. Kaumaha