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       Chapter One

         You can forgive, but you can never forget. Cindrillion Brande sat against the red brick alleyway behind Middleton High School. It was the 5th school he had moved to within three months. He was  preparing a joint. Inhaling the drug allowed him to forget the pains of his past; his parents and everyone else he loved. They were all dead because of him. He never stayed in one place long, because he was always moving from family to family. No one wanted a drug addict in there home. In a few days he would turn eighteen and he would finally move away from his newest family. If he was caught, he would be sent to prison this time. 

        He searched his pockets for his lighter. His hands felt only cotton fabric inside each void. He checked again to make sure it wasn't there. It wasn't. He felt the desire to burn inside him. It reached out choking off his breath. If he didn't let go of the flames, he would eventually combust. He didn't want to do it, but the desire for the drugs were too much for Cindrillion. He lifted his right hand, put his middle finger and thumb together, and snapped them as hard as he could. 

        The mixture of friction and supernatural chemicals in his sweat allowed Cindrillion to create fire. On his thumb now sat a little blue flame inlaid with orange. He put the joint to his lips using his left hand. Inhaling, he stuck the tip of the joint into the flame. Tendrils of smoke entered his lungs. He held in the drug, enjoying the ecstacy he felt. Relief. It felt good to alleviate his need to create fire and to smoke again. Horrible memories of his past life became muddled. He lived for this moment, now. 

        There was a rustle of leaves behind him. He tensed and turned around. "I always knew you were a freak!" His clouded mind focused on the burly figure of Josh Tolk. Of course, the jock would come back here to pick a fight with Cindrillion. Lately, Josh singled out Cindrillion as a loner. Which was of course true. Cindrillion didn't have friends. He couldn't afford it. 

        Josh was looking at Cindrillion's right arm. Because of his marijuana high, Cindrillion had forgotten to extinguish the fire from his thumb. The blue flames had extended to his shoulder and were starting to light his clothes onto fire. His skin was unharmed by the flame. That's how it had always been. Fire didn't hurt Cindrillion. He tried to kill the flames to no avail by patting his arm with his other hand. Any more heat or friction could cause his whole body to burst into flames. He couldn't let this happen again.

        In his rush to take care of the fire, Cindrillion felt a blow to the side of his head. Josh had snuck up on him while he was busy. He fell to the ground. He didn't want to hurt Josh, but the need to extinguish the flames on his arms was of dire importance. He felt another blow. Cindrillion's vision blurred. He looked up to find Josh swinging at him again. Cindrillion grasped his fingers around Josh's fist. Josh screamed. The flames from Cindrillion's fingers crept up Josh's arm and threatened to kill him. Unknowingly, Cindrillion had used his right hand to grab Josh's hand. 

        Cindrillion had to find water fast, otherwise Josh would die. The fire that Cindrillion created was unnatural. Once it found a source of fuel, it didn't stop consuming until it was put out with water. Cindrillion had never learned to control his fire, he never learned to put it out using purely willpower, he was too afraid of it. He looked for a source of water. There was a hose nearby which the janitors used sometimes. Cindrillion ran to the hose and turned on the faucet it was hooked to. No water came out. He looked back at Josh. The screams coming from the bully were animal. How else could someone act when half of their arm has been devoured by fire? 

        Still no water poured from the end of the hose. Cindrillion realized he had been stupid to assume water would pour from the hose. It was the middle of November, and the temperature was below freezing. The hose, he realized, was full of ice. Again, he looked back at Josh. The flames had eaten to his shoulder now. Cindrillion decided to try and control the flame using his mind. He had to be able to do it. If he could create it, why not destroy it? He pointed his palm towards Josh. Focusing, he urged the fire to stop devouring the screaming bully. He felt the fire resist his urges. He pushed harder. The flames slowly went dimmer and dimmer, until nothing was left but some cinders. 

        The smell of burnt flesh permeated the air. Josh had stopped screaming due to him going unconscious. He was in shock. The screams that had emanated from the bully's feeble throat had alerted people outside of the school to call the authorities. Cindrillion didn't think it was right to run. He had to accept responsibility of his actions. Of course, he couldn't tell them the truth, but a version of the truth. He would tell them that he had given Josh a lighter rigged to explode. It wasn't supposed to injure Josh seriously. Just enough to make him stay away. Of course, the police would ask questions, but he could handle the cops. He had before. 

        Police car lights flashed across the alleyway behind the school. Cindrillion felt hands grasp his arms and drag him towards the car. No questions were asked, which made Cindrillion suspicious. "Wait..." He didn't get out another word as one of the cops pulled out a hand gun and smacked him with the butt. Consciousness evaded Cindrillion, and he forgot. Darkness.

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