Fintan walked down the school corridor and rubbed his eyes. He was so tired. He spent the whole of last night working his fire to the best of its ability. The flame he produced was now over a foot long if he concentrated and kept his focus, and he discovered he could make a spark by snapping his fingers. By only opening one finger, he found he could shoot flames, meaning he had more accuracy. It was amazing. The power had changed and morphed to suit him - it had taken a while to get the hang of it, but now he felt invincible. He could shot fire from his hands for crying out loud! Fire! Yellow and red flames as big as his forearm, sparks and flashes bright enough to light a room. And he had checked it was real fire. Paper went up in flames the moment it touched his palm and it gave off enough heat to make his face sweat. And the best part was it couldn’t hurt him. His hair, yeah, but him? No. As tired as he was, Fintan felt great.
He ambled over to his locker and turned the dial. 394. There was a click and the door swung open, revealing a pile of books and chewing gum wrappers. He pulled the Biology textbook out and closed the door.
Fintan jumped and whipped round. A smile burst on his lips, and he relaxed. “Sal! Don’t do that. You scared the daylights out of me.”
Sal grinned and leaned against his locker. He was Fintan’s best friend, and that meant their lockers were together. “Hey, Fin. How you doing?”
Fintan rammed to Biology book into his rucksack and slung it over his shoulder. He glanced at his friend. Sal’s real name was Salvatore - his dad was Italian - but he had shortened it ever since he started school. He and Fin looked more or less identical. They both had long sweeping hair and wore black skinny jeans and black tops. They both wore bright converse and they both had a passion for heavy metal and Shrillrex. There was only one difference between them - Sal’s crazy side was more pronounced. He was mental. Crazy. Bonkers. Not in a bad way...it wasn’t like he thought he was the second coming of Jesus or anything, but he did have the unfortunate habit of acting on impulse, not thinking about what he said or did. When Fintan had first told his mum about Sal, her eyes had widened and her mouth opened. It had quickly closed in a frown, and she had gone back to chopping vegetables. But her look was enough. Fintan shouldn’t be hanging around with people like that. They were a bad influence.
“Yeah, I’m doing alright,” Fintan replied. He had the sudden urge to spill everything, to tell Sal his powers.
There wasn’t any harm to it, was there? It wasn’t as though Sal could use his powers - Fintan controlled them, he could choose what to do with them. Fintan pressed his arm on Sal’s shoulder and tilted him towards the locker. “Look Sal, you can’t tell anyone, but...I can make fire!”
Sal’s eyes grew for a moment and then returned to normal. “Stop pulling my leg.”
Fintan shook his head. “No, I’m serious! It happened yesterday in P.E. when Mr Winton was shouting at me, and then this spark came out my hand. I was practicing it all last night! I think it has something to do with the fact I just turned fifteen, but I don’t know. Look!”
Fintan closed and opened his hand and a small flame came out. Sal stared at this, his mouth agape. “I can also control how big the flame gets watch this.” Fintan focused a bit more and the flame doubled in size. It flickered in mid air for a moment, and then Fintan closed is hand.
Sal looked up at Fintan, his eyes twice their normal size. “Woah. I mean, wow. You just...woah!” He put his hands on his head and weaved his fingers through his straight hair. “You just...”
Fintan pressed a finger to his lips. “Shush! I don’t really want everyone to know about it.”
Sal nodded. “Yeah, alright. Mum’s the word.” His face suddenly lit up and he grinned. “Can I see it in action? You know, like burning stuff?”
Fintan bit his lip. It seemed harmless enough, but knowing Sal it was probably dangerous, and most likely meant getting into serious trouble. “I don’t know, Sal. If you have a bit of paper or something...”
Sal shook his head. “No, bro. I’ve got a better idea. After you’ve finished bio, meet me at the front gates to school. I know a place we can go.”
“And what, skip maths?”
Sal simply winked and said, “Meet you there,” before sauntering off, his hands shoved into his pockets and his hair down over his face.
Fintan turned around in the corridor and started walking to biology, on the first floor. Should he go with Sal? Yes, or no? He was his best friend - his only friend, actually - but Sal was mental. Probably meant for him to light a gas canister or something. It wouldn’t be something good for his health that was sure. Or maybe it was. Sal had been known to act rationally on occasion. He didn’t seem that crazy there. Maybe he just wanted to go somewhere quieter, where no one could see them. Mum’s the word, and all that. Yes, that was it. Sal wouldn’t want to hurt him. Sal would never do anything to-
“Excuse me? Are you ok?”
Fintan glanced up and found himself staring into the eyes of Arianna. She was older than him by a few months and she was stunning. Poker straight blonde hair, blue eyes the colour of the waves, with tips of white foam appearing in specks and clusters in her iris. She was standing over him, her arms full of books. Her brow was furrowed in worry. “Are you ok? You looked kind of dizzy.”
Fintan felt his face flush red. “I-I’m f-fine.” He gulped. “I’m fine. A bit tired, that’s all.”
Arianna stared in his eyes for a moment and Fintan swore he saw spark of fire in her pupil. He blinked and it was gone. Arianna smiled. “Oh, ok then. You’re...Fin, right?”
“Fintan, yeah. You’re Arianna.” He blushed again and diverted his eyes to the floor, hovering for a moment at her breasts.
Arianna laughed, her chuckle sounding like angels singing. “Right. I’ll see you around, Fintan.” She walked off, her hair bouncing off her shoulders. Fintan watched her disappear around the corner. His heart was beating at a million miles an hour, and he could feel sweat bead on his forehead. Arianna had talked to him! She had talked to him! His mind could barely comprehend it. The fire in her blue eyes vanished from Fintan’s mind, and he sauntered to up the stairs to biology in a daze.