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Maverick (Short Story)

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

It was late November, which meant the nights were longer than the days.

After sitting on the chair, Rael's feet did not touch the ground so he proceeded to swing his legs back and forth. In spite of wearing his warm clothes he was still a little chilly.

Under normal circumstances he would have tried to distract himself or get warmth from the lighter his dad left behind.

It was one of his few prized possessions. The lighter was custom made, the top was light blue in colour and as it gradually went down, the shades became darker till the colour was black. With a small font in golden the words "Phoenix" was engraved.

Rael loved feeling the words with his thumbs. It gave him a superficial feeling of comfort as did the flames that the lighter could conjure. However, it was his tricks with Phoenix that got him in trouble this time. At the age of twelve he was now used to being called to the Principal's office every week but he usually got off with a warning or detention.

Unlike other days, his mother was called in from work to have a chat with the Principal. His mother's involvement in the situation made matters stressful this time. He loved his mother and thought of her as his very own, personal superhero but when he becomes the enemy of his hero it was never good.

His mother already had enough to deal with, trying to support their family almost single-handedly, not that his stepfather cared about anything.

Rael's stepfather had a prestigious job but was not a reputable man when it came to spending his money. As a matter of fact if Rael's mother did not have her two jobs their family would've been out in the streets long ago.

He nicknamed his stepfather "Simpleton", which he once made the mistake of saying out loud when Simpleton had some poker friends over.

Shivers ran up Rael's spine as he recalled that horrific memory, his hand reached his pocket as a default mechanism but soon he realized that Phoenix wasn't there.

At times Phoenix was his best friend. He spent a lot of his time staring at the flames that Phoenix conjured. The flames had beautiful radiant colours, sometimes with a hint of blue and purple but mostly it was eye-catching shades of red, orange and yellow.

Over the course of years by using both Phoenix and the kitchen stove he learned some daunting tricks that wasn't particularly amusing to other people. That part he figured out today during recess when he was showing his two close friends his tricks which 'freaked' them out.

He did not realize that his tricks with fire was so concerning that his two best friends would go and complain to Ms Jody, who in turn told the Principal.

What was so wrong about loving fire?

Rael straightened up as he heard his Principal's voice through the shut door, the Principal was angry.

"Madame as much as we would like to help, this boy is showing deviant behaviors and requires outside counselling! The school will not be responsible for a future Arsonist!"

The room fell silent or at least the voice lowered, as Rael no longer was able to hear anything from inside the room. He looked up and smiled at the Assistant Principal who was behind her desk looking at Rael with concern.

He did not understand two words, "Deviant" and "Arsonist".

They sounded like cool adjectives in Rael's mind. He guessed it was something to do with no one else liking his flame tricks.

Glancing at his fingers his shoulder slumped and he mumbled, "The burns were for nothing."

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