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  • Writer's pictureCasey Truly

Sorce: Birth of Echo (Preview) Pg. 5

Master Uphraeus raises a fist in the air then marches to the door. Laurie looks around, at her group of friends, all of them subtly chuckling. She adjusts her ponytail and crosses her legs. I know that move; she’s self-conscious and a little embarrassed. I make an internal triumphant cheer that quickly turns into sympathy. I want to console her, let her know she isn’t stupid or that she doesn’t have any less value because she got the answer wrong according to the Master. My heart breaks all over again. “Well, how’s that? We get to go on a field trip to the crystals. Master Uphraeus seems very excited. This class is gonna be fun, yeah?” Jessie says. Before I can reply with my own thoughts, Nathan pipes in, clearly trying to grab Jessie’s attention. “I’ll say! We should hurry before the good spots are taken. I have a feeling he’s going to breakout some demonstrations!” Nathan says. “Hmm, you might be right. Come on Charlie!” Jessie says. I look at my half-eaten bar. It tastes like sawdust with a hint of blueberries. Then chug the rest of my Acceler-aid. Jessie’s look of shock turns into a smile, followed by a laugh. Nathan looks concerned and a little grossed out. “Shall we?” I say. A huge belch leaves my mouth before I can react. Jessie laughs. “I like your energy! I’m pumped!” Jessie says. Most of the students have already packed together, making new friends or chatting with old ones it seems. Master Uphraeus is ahead of all of us, moving very casually and taking in the sun. Jessie is walking in-between Nathan and I, and we’re behind the rest of the students. The sun is beaming down but the cool breeze makes the temperature somewhat bearable. The school is huge. As big as a city. Built on a giant island that travels above the ocean. Endlessly levitating through the blue landscape. Although, if you’re not looking over the edge, peering out of a window of one of the school’s tall buildings, or seeing the school from below, you’d forget you’re several miles in the air. I believe the school was founded on a mountainside, but was later cast into the ocean after the Cataclysm. That’s when the school was founded by it’s first recorded Head Master, and was named Sirrus after the clouds above. The group gets to the gate of the Crystal Fields where Master Uphraeus stands in waiting for us all to gather. “Here we’ll wait for those of us that are falling behind. Now is a good time to stretch!” He instructs. I like Master Uphraeus already, he seems really passionate about his work, while not being a complete buzzkill. “So, Jessie. Where are you from?” Nathan asks. “Maethril, just off the coast.” Jessie says. “Ah, an island girl! I like it. So, why’d you chose to come to Sirrus?” Nathan says. Jessie raises a brow to his “island girl” comment. “Maybe it had something to do with me being relatively poor and Sirrus being the closest sorce institution near the islands?” Jessie says. “Well, there’s always traveling abroad. Like Uni-Clad?” Nathan says. Jessie rolls her eyes and ignores the question. “So, Charlie. What’s your story?” Jessie says. I’d zoned out thinking about Laurie and the last argument we had. I was piecing it together to see if there was a clue to our breakup. I have a feeling she’s been catching glances of me in the crowd of students and I’ve been doing my best not to seek her out. I hear her laugh and I instinctually dart my eyes over at her. She’s holding onto that other guy’s arm while she snorts. That. That broke me. A surreal moment passes through my body, I see her and this other guy, and it's like looking at us in the past, except I’m not there. Someone else is where I should be, the body I’m in doesn’t feel real. “Charlie?” Jessie says. “Hey, sorry. Did you say something?” I say. “You’ve been staring at that girl since class started. Looks like she’s taken bud.” Jessie says.

“Yeah, looks like it.” I say, barely audible.

“You could do way better. She looks like a psycho anyway. You know, the type that’ll say she loves you one day and then key your car the next after hooking up with four other dudes.” Jessie says.

She laughs and gives me a nudge with her elbow.

“Jessie’s right!” Nathan says.

He casually puts himself between Jessie and I, putting his arms around the both of us.

“There’s plenty of girls to behold. She looks pretty hot though.”

I already don’t want to be around anyone, let alone this asshole. I know next words out of his mouth are going to anger me further and I know someone like him won’t know when to shut up. I put my hand on his wrist, the one on my shoulder, and heat it up to something close to unbearably hot. “Ow!” Nathan yelps.

“What the hell was that for?!”

“Don’t touch me.” I say

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