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Chapter Two: Ceremony
I really can’t stand the anticipation. The worry. The surprise. After today the sun no longer sets and rises like any other day. I’ll have responsibilities. I will have to learn how to not be normal. That’s scary to say. I no longer with be just Ava LionHart. I can feel something big is about to happen. It’s like some sick sense. I just need to sit down and breathe. I used to go to this place up the hill that looks over the town. I call it Avapolis. I found it. That makes it mine. My special hidden spot nobody can find me. I’ve only ventured out about 2 miles west on top the hill mostly because I'm scared what's out there but also because I’m afraid I may never come back. I might just keep walking one day and leave it all behind. Tonight my entire life is going to change. I don't know if it's good or bad. What lies ahead is probably the most nerve wracking thing I have ever experienced. Maybe I should just go, leave, never come back. Would anyone honestly miss me? I mean if Claire went missing the world might as well explode but me, I'm a lost cause. Everyone always stares and whispers about me. I'm the reject nobody wanted. See, I am not related to the mayor at all. He and his wife found me and raised me since I was a month old. It was known to be the hardest thing my mother did when she left me. But I've never once met my mom and never will. I enjoy life with the Lionharts. Nothing is more important in the world than family and trust me, I need them more than they need me.
“Ava! Ava! It's time to go! It's time! It's time!” I hear Claire yell from like a mile away.
“I'm coming!” I yell back.
I rush down the hill to my fate. It's like running into a huge carnival. Lights everywhere, people coming from miles, the sound of laughter and children all around. It was perfect and it felt like I was a princess.
As Claire and I were escorted in towards the stage I saw my parents. They looked so proud that this moment was finally here. They were probably more proud than I was. Definitely more proud. I get to my seat on stage and look at all the faces. Everyone staring at me and for once it's not because of who I am but because of who I'm going to be.
The ceremony begins and my dad walks on stage. He begins his speech peacefully and professionally.
“Today is no ordinary day. No, today 20 of our turning of age children are being chosen to their desired locations in the supernatural side of our little town. This shouldn't be something to fear. This is an exciting moment for everyone. These children have waited 18 years to find their fate and today the most exciting time is upon them. They will remember this moment forever. I will like to thank everyone for coming and congratulate the following students: Timothy Court, Jericho Thompson, Maliah Giltner, Rose Madison, Claire St. Dimero, Ava LionHart, Zuri Rice, Quinton Sandoval, Vanessa Prichard, Prussia Simpson, Phoebe Wilson, Adalina Wallace, Madison Jamia, Serenity Day, Johnathan Fisher, Peter Fisher, Ross Cuplet, Anastasia Monroe, Christopher Wildner, Ryan Snow. These students have worked extremely hard to get here, so without further ado I would like to begin and wish everyone good luck.” Words well used by mayor LionHart.
First up was Timothy Court. Dreamy but mysterious. He didn't express himself much. No one really knew much about him except that he was more as an outsider and his family moved in bound towards our village after their town was set ablaze. He walks up and you could definitely tell he wasn't afraid of what was next.
“Young sir, will you please step up. Place your hand into the red bowl and grab a piece of gold out. Now holding it firmly in your palm, reach your hand in the water,” Lionhart says.
Timothy did as instructed as he slowly removed his arm from the water, opening his hand to reveal a small gold pendant in the shape of a wolf. He closes his hand, tossing it into his pocket and walking off stage.
“He seriously wasn't just affected by that? This is crazy. We have powers now!” Claire whispers over to me.
Next was Jericho. He was a very smart guy. Always knew the answer to any questions he was asked, and always got straight A’s. If he deserved any power it would be mayor. I'm sure he would be the perfect fit to fix this broken town. He raises his hand in then out displaying a little gold owl. At least he seemed more focused on life.
Going down the line next after next finally we reach Claire. She walks up shaking. I know what she is thinking. “I’m about to lose my best friend.” I nodded at her to keep walking. There is no way I would ever leave Claire behind no matter how dangerous it may get. You see, once we shape shift at night we have no control over ourselves. Hundreds of families have become ripped apart and thousands have died; that’s why the mayor split us all into separate towns designed for our selected groups. Predators on one side and prey on the other. But we are only forced to sleep there. Shape shifting isn’t possible without the moon out. Legend says only a conjurer can choose when they shape shift and it’s said they are the most dangerous people out there. But those who are not conjurers still have partial powers during the day, like strength, agility, flexibility, speed, super hearing, etc. depending on the animal you are chosen to be.
Claire finally made it to the front of the stage. She reached her hand into the gold and then out, spilling it on the ground. She is making a fool of herself in front of everyone. Rushing to gather it all back up she places her hand of gold into the water then out, revealing a rabbit. A freaking rabbit. What the heck do they expect her to do with that? I's obvious she is placed on the prey side. It breaks my heart to see her up there. She looks so disappointed. Claire use to always dream of being chosen a leopard. It’s her favorite. She sits down, meaning now it’s my turn.
All I can whisper is “please be prey” in my head a million times. I really don’t know what I’d do without Claire. She is my rock. My everything. She has been there since day 1. Even the day I was told about the adoption.
As I pull my hand out of the water slowly opening, it reveals a heart. Mayor Lionhart quickly throws my hand back into the water, still revealing a heart. You can tell he is frightened beyond belief; he starts crying and shaking. Mrs. Lionhart runs over to see what the hold up was. They both are too choked up to answer. I spin around, revealing the heart to everyone. I watched the entire room go silent and blank. My own heart starts pounding. I had no idea what was going on. I looked at Claire then back at my parents and back at Claire again as I gave her that “please help me" look. A elderly woman jumps up screaming out, "Run!" More and more people began to jump in screaming, "Witch! Sorcerer! Predator!" You name it. I was now the center of attention. Claire runs up, grabbing me as we ran out. There was no looking back now. The town hates me. I just wish I could grasp what all this means.
“Claire, Claire, wait up,” I say as I’m gasping for air.
“Ava! What the hell was that? What's happening?” Claire looks so scared right now. I can hear the words she is saying but the only thing on my mind is it's almost midnight and we are about to shape shift. But what the heck am I going to be? My pendant wasn’t fully developed into a creature.
“You need to leave. You can’t be here. I don’t know what is going to happen and I don’t want to hurt you,” I say.
“I’m not leaving. Not now. Not ever,” Claire cries out.
“Fine, then I’ll leave.” It pains me to say that so bad.
Claire just looks at me with the sourest eyes.
I had to leave. I had no choice. Claire just doesn't understand and neither do I. This is the first time we haven’t been hip to hip. I just don’t know. What comes next? Everything is just happening so fast.