*A cabin in the middle of a vast farm, the year is 4020, and the sun is at high noon. A young girl, 12, was jogging back to the porch of her home to help her father finish an errand*
Blood seeped out from the bottom of the door.
Ray stared at the door in disbelief.
Her father had gone inside earlier to make some hand-squeezed lemonade; a typical treat for Ray and her eight younger siblings while they were working in the fields.
Their farm had the usual crops. Corn, wheat, and occasionally cotton. What they were really known for were their turnips. Something about the soil and care given had made them well renowned.
“P...pah? Yuh in there?”
Ray’s voice quivered while a slew of excuses cycled through her brain as to what could be the reason.
Maybe dad cut his hand? No, too much blood.
Perhaps an intruder came? Dad can’t stream but he wasn’t necessarily weak.
The door began to creak open, mom always likened the sound of the door opening to the sound of a cat slap-boxing a blackboard. She was quirky like that even though the treatments.
Ray instinctively jumped under the stair leading up to the porch.
If it were her dad, then she could jump out and take joy at his frightful reflex.
However, if it were someone else she could keep her presence hidden.
“That’ll teach these country-side bumpkins in line for another year or two” a gruff voice, muffled from the sound of dip, came erupting from the eerie silence, “the mayor should be pleased if we can round up the kids too.”
Ray recognized the voice. It was the “tax collector” that had visited before. He would come and collect the profits from the family farm and constantly scout the children to see if any had developed the ability to stream.
Ray’s heart sank as she heard rustling in the wheat field. The rest of the Turnip kids were en route and approaching rapidly.
They must have gotten impatient waiting for the lemonade and were coming back to lend their father a hand; after all, when in need they always came to each other’s aid.
Quickly Ray straightened her arms in the direction of the sound and made a spade with her index fingers and thumbs, her pinkies sticking out with the other fingers curled.
“SEI-CHO” Ray whispers under her breath, her eyes glowing gold as she warps the wheat, restraining her younger siblings and muzzling their mouths to avoid the excessive sound.
“What’s that?” one of the men looked in the direction of the field.
“Eh, just some wildlife or somethin’ who cares” the other snarled back.
The kids knew this was their sister’s stream-ability and understood something was wrong. Staying silent and trusting Ray would protect them.
Descending down the stairs, Ray saw the boots of two men. One, the tax collector, was named Earl. A tall and slender man who was bow-legged but had an intimidating presence all the same.
The other was much rounder. He was known in town as Glutton but his real name was Garry; built like a bowling ball on steroids he was often the muscle for the mayor’s various tasks.
Seeing these two, Ray knew that her father was dead.
He had refused the recent tax increases arguing that, without representation, the community wouldn’t continue to bend over backward to the mayor’s demands.
It’s likely Glutton and Earl were sent to put down the most vocal opponents of mayor Artemis.
Ray covered her mouth to keep from screaming. Standing right in front of the thugs was the second oldest sibling.
Sol stood defiantly in front of the two men. Only ten but he puffed his chest out like a hero on the front of a magazine.
“You’re not leaving here alive!”
Sol’s rage caused the earth to tremble and small rocks began to circle around him. Slowly at first but soon flying at a rate so fast it only could be seen as a blur.
Earth manipulation was Sol’s Stream but they had been hiding it from authorities. Not wanting him to be recruited as a guardsman.
One of the rocks whizzed into the forehead of Earl causing him to stumble backward.
“Sonofa…” Earl steadied himself and gritted his teeth. He reached for the pistol on his hip before Glutton stopped him.
“I got this,” Glutton charged at the boy with alarming speed for his size. His Stream allowed him to convert energy from stored fat into kinetic energy to power his muscles.
Sol hopped to the side using the ground beneath his feet to propel him away even faster. Glutton was powerful but very straight-lined.
Then Sol caved in the ground under Glutton’s left foot causing him to trip.
“Take this pig!”
Unbeknownst to the two knuckleheads, Sol had used the smaller rocks as a distraction.
Descending from 20 feet above their heads, a boulder came crashing down and crushing Glutton’s leg.
Glutton looked at his leg and almost instantly passed out from shock. The best healing-based Streamers wouldn’t be able to repair his disfigured leg.
“Forgot about me?”
Earl was behind Sol right as he landed and suddenly Sol was unconscious.
What? He’s so fast I couldn’t see what he did.
Ray kept shifting under the stairs trying to see what was happening.
Before she knew it Sol, Glutton, and Earl were all gone.
Ray rushed over to the field and embraced her other siblings.
“I’m so sorry!”
Snot and tears running down her face.
"I froze. I couldn’t do anything to help Sol!”
The other siblings hugged their grieving sister.
Breaking the silence was Zeek; the youngest. He spoke up, his voice cracking through tears.
“Ray, you can bring Sol back right?”
Ray nodded and gripped her hands tight.
“I’m going to take over this town… no this whole daggum state if I hafta. Whatever it takes to make them pay.”
As the sunset, Ray plopped down on her butt leaving the shovel implanted in the ground. She watched as the sunset illuminating the freshly filled-in grave for her father.
The other siblings had been sent to a neighboring farm to stay with old man Jericho. Ray didn’t want them to have to clean up the blood in the house and see their father in such an awful state.
It would be decades until any of them returned home…
END CHAPTER 1