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"Ash and Nova" by Lucas T.

Running, I did my best to escape the cops. “D’corVac,” I murmured with a smile, and jumped impossibly high onto the sixth story of a building. “So long, fellas! See you next chase!” 

I yelled mostly at the cops while dodging their Sonic Wave, but also partly at the crowd that had gathered. That's what you get when you couldn't save my brother.

* * *

“He’s a damn twelve-year-old!” Commander Greer of the G-13 training class of 2074 yelled, spit flying. I did my best to contain the impulse to wipe his face, but couldn’t keep from blinking when some spittle flew into my eye. “You couldn’t keep a child from outrunning you ON YOUR SCOOTERS?! You’re all at least fourteen, and some eighteen!” The commander was round, only spoke in yells, and loved to get people into trouble. 

“But Commander,” a brave, albeit new youth claimed, “he was running impossibly fast.” 

“SILENCE!” he commanded. “I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOU SAD EXCUSES FOR BEING FAT, SLOW, AND LAZY! TEN LAPS AROUND THE BUILDING!” All the students groaned, except me, because I rather liked running. Being the second youngest only to a fourteen and-two-months-year-old, I still came in fifth place in the long distance run, most of the other winners being eighteen. I was considered a try-hard and a commander's pet, even though I was yelled at by the commander more than most of his squadron. I was pretty sure it was due to him being top of his class at the academy.

After the laps, the squadron was instructed to continue their patrolling, which basically meant checking the monitors in the central wing of the building for G-rated missions. The missions and squadrons had ranks A through G, A being the hardest. All of the G squadrons were in training, but did not get many missions. The ones they did were usually about minor vandalism, or public intoxication. 

We were watching the monitors when a report for a G rated crime blinked on the screen, a savior from Commander Greer’s constant spray and volume. I classified the crime a petty theft, because only energy and candy bars and a packet of beef jerky were stolen. The cameras used by the store for facial recognition, AutoPay™, and security had identified the 12-year-old kid as Nova Alder, a criminal wanted for numerous counts of petty theft. 

The oldest of the G squadron equipped themselves with Sonic Cannons, cylinders with triggers that blast, well, Sonic Waves, while me and other of the younger kids got nothing. We all hopped onto our dozens scooters, while the rest piled into our one standard-issued self-driving car. 

We spotted the kid, and were about to meet him, when his sprint became faster than the cars. If that wasn't odd enough, he looked like he wasn't going to turn the corner, and would slam right into the building. But just as it looked like there was no hope for him, he jumped onto the six story building. 

“The commander is going to arrested for murder soon.” I remarked.

* * *

After almost running into the cops again, I did the most logical thing; break into their base and make fun of them, like what my brother would have done. I got there, opened the window, and muttered “NexMoki.” With the screen now liquified, I climbed through and into one of the cops’ rooms. “Ash Murka” said the tag at the end of his bed. I glanced up at his face and couldn’t contain a gasp when I saw it. It was nearly identical to my brothers.

The next thing I knew, his hand rushed towards the emergency call button. 

“Sa!” I whisper-yelled, followed by “SaCo.” 

I saw him inhale deeply. I had rendered him and his mouth frozen, with the use of magic. His eyes glanced toward his hand, wide eyed, and he struggled to push the button. 

“C’mon man,” I complained, “you’re going to get me caught. If you promise to not click that button or yell, I’ll release you.” 

As he considered my offer, I placed an enchantment on him so that he would be able to move and talk, just not hit the button or yell. As he could not move his head to nod, his eyes moved up and down, and I released him from the enchantment. 

He immediately tried to yell and push the button. When he saw that he couldn’t do that, he bolted out the door. 

“Sa.” I said again, stopping him. This time, he seemed to give up, as did my enchantment. “Let's take a walk, ‘cuz I like you.” I meant, ‘cuz I hope you’re like my brother. Gesturing for him to follow me, we walked up to the wall leading to the front of the building. 

He looked confused, so I said, “NexMoki” and shoved him through the wall, then jumped through after him. 

Arriving on the other side, I saw him looking nauseous. “Magic,” I explained. 

He snorted. 

“How do you think I stopped you from pressing the button, and yelling?” I questioned. 

His queasy look returned . “But, how? It's not, wh-” 

“Calm down, buddy,”  I said. “We walk over to my place, I can show you some tricks.” Looking confused, he agreed. 

“Why are you being so nice to me?” he inquired. I sighed. 

“To be honest, you remind me of my brother. He and my single mother died In the earthquake of 2071. They were trapped in the city hall, and couldn’t get out in time. I only survived because I was wandering around, and my nine year old self found a great, grassy field inside the building. That is the place that I found The Book, at least that’s what I call it. I could never find the room again. How do you think I learned my magic?” 

Looking solemn, Ash replied. 

“I'm trying to become a police officer because the pay is mildly well, and I like it. My mom and sister are well below the poverty line, and I'm really doing my best to provide for them. Nothing I seem to do is enough, though.” 

I thought for a moment, then replied. “You know, with magic, getting what you need would be much easier, and you can take more than you need. Stealing is much easier.” Ash frowns. 

“How would that be fair to all the other poor people that need to eat? I would be stealing the food they worked hard for.” 

These few words disturbed me. I didn’t know how many people I had deprived of meals just because I was too lazy to work, and didn’t want to live a harder life. 

“Yeah.” I replied, deep in thought. “Lets go to my place,” I said. I led Ash down a dark alleyway, and down a pair of stares on the left, a slight smile on my face.

* * *

“What is your name?” I asked the kid. 

“Nova,” he replied simply. Leading me down the stairs,  he mumbled some more magic words, at least I guessed they were magic words, and the blank wall in front of us opened up. He led me into a small stone room lit by a couple of old LED lights, with just a chair and a moth-eaten couch. “Welcome to my humble abode.” he said, and led me to the middle of the room, where there was a black leather book on a podium.

“I’m guessing this is The Book?” I inquired. He nodded, and gestured for me to open it. At first, I saw blank pages, but text slowly appeared, as if swimming up from the depths of the book. I saw strange words, which I assumed were spells, and then a description of their abilities and pronunciation.

“Even though the book is filled with spells, I can speak magic fluently.” said Nova proudly.

“But these are spells,” I asked, “not directions on how to speak a language.”

He explained that he'd noticed a pattern to the Spells. For example, there was a Cause Pain, Heal Pain, Cause Confusion, and Heal Confusion. 

“I know half the spells are dark and cruel, but I have not used any of those that hurt people, except maybe cause itches.” He said that he had finished a robbery, and wanted to restore the mind of one of the guards. He had forgotten the Heal Confusion spell, but noticed something. All the Cause spelles had the prefix, “Nex,” while all the Heal spells had the prefix, “Sen,” and the Cause Confusion spell had “Rexen” after the “Nex,” so he concluded that Heal Confusion spell was “SenRexen.” 

I was astounded at Nova’s conclusion capabilities, and stared at him wide-eyed. 

“Can you teach me?” I asked.

* * *

Seeing it was already five in the morning, I told Ash the time, and asked him if he wanted to go back to the police station. “Five o'clock!” he exclaimed. “Roll call starts in an hour!” 

This was bad. We rushed out of my house, and Ash said, “SenFoneerVac!” I taught him most of the prefixes and suffixes I knew, and “Vac,” was the one for self. 

“Shush!” I whisper-yelled at him for saying the enchantment so loudly, then muttered it myself, noticing his slight guilty look. 

We got to the police station with minutes to spare, and I was glad that his room was by an exterior wall. After liquefying the wall again, we slithered in and he collapsed onto his bunk bed, pretending to be asleep. I was about to leave from the back, when I began thinking about all the things I had stolen, all the meals and pleasure I had taken away from kids and families. 

A thought passed through my mind, but I quickly dismissed it. I couldn't. But… I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. I sighed, and made my way toward the main office. 

“How may I he-” The kid at the front desk recognized me, and froze in astonishment.

“Um, uh, hi, I would like to turn mys-”

“Arrest him!” exclaimed Ash, pointing at me, and looking pained as he barrled out of his room. At first, I felt betrayed, after everything I had done for him, but then realized that he was doing the right thing, and the feeling of betrayal went away. Even though I was his friend, I had done more than my fair share of crime. 

The corners of my mouth tilted up, and Ash, looking relieved, kindly guided me to my cell.

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