Short Story: Outcasts


Description: A short story about how Aria's life changed.


Submitted by: Franel C

Help, please. Help, please. HELP! PLEASE!!! An old lady with a raspy voice shouted. Thump. Aria groaned as the sunlight hit her eyes. In an attempt to shield her eyes from the blinding light 'The same dream over and over again, at least I woke up at four' Aria Solace thought. Aria is your everyday 15-year-old teenage girl. Mid-length raven hair with bright emerald eyes, pale skin, and soft pink lips. Nothing weird, right? She always had average grades and always participated in events, but these days the same dream happened every time she woke up. Honestly, it was getting on her nerves.

Making her way to the bathroom she bumped into her little brother, Alex Solace who looked like he just woke up with his messy and tangled midnight hair as he went down the stairs to eat breakfast yawning and rubbing the sleep of his caramel eyes mumbling a little good morning as he passed. In return, he got a grunt, in Aria's language 'good morning to you too'.

When she entered the bathroom, she immediately splashed water on her face. Usually gives herself a pep talk that includes 'let's do our best ‘ and 'our day is gonna be great’ today she decided to give herself a realistic pep talk instead of a motivational one. 'today something's gonna happen and we'll avoid it as best as we can, that dream won't affect us. We have two assignments since we pulled an all-nighter, we'll pass.' Technically, she studied all week for it and just had to re-check her notes last night to summarize them. Sighing aria decides whether or not something gonna happen she’ll just go to school and be as normal as any teen girl, have friends and get good grades. ‘Ok, I can manage’ Aria thought, still tryna convince herself.

Quickly changing from her tee and sweatpants into the normal attire that she brought last night during her breaks, which consists of a plain blue tee and a pair of worn-out jeans adding her usual broken white hoodie that needed a change, she stepped out of the bathroom.

Making her way down the stairs to the kitchen as the sweet scent of her mother, Amanda Solace’s famous very berry smoothie. As she looked to the table, Alex had occupied his seat as he did his last-minute studying while crumbs of his french toast landed on his books, her mother was humming a melody dancing a bit as her flowery apron danced to the beat as her ebony hair sway side to side as she closed her cerulean-violet eyes that only her mother and Alex had, as her father, Ethan Solace was reading the daily newspaper as his mint-green eyes scanned for the daily news while he sipped on his morning coffee. Coughing to get her presence known, her mother smiled sweetly as she said good morning to her, while her father and Alex only nodded as they resumed their activities. Aria sat down in her designated seat as her mother handed her the very berry smoothie and a piece of french toast, her mother finally sat down on her seat. “It’s rare for you to eat so late. Did you pull another all-nighter?” Her mother asked in a motherly tone as she pushed her ebony hair back. Humming back as her reply, her mother just shook her head, while her father set down his newspaper and rimless glasses and said “I have tried so much to tell you that pulling any more all-nighters will do you no good, yet you still do it. My dear Aria, I have no idea how to deal with you. Just good luck with your assignments” She let out a “sorry not sorry, and thanks” as she began to munch on her breakfast.

~~~~~

School started as quickly as it ended. Aria decided she could use some extra time at the library. In that light, she went to the library. Books were neatly stacked on shelves with tables in between. Reading lamps on every table, as scattered students began to read and study, some sleeping, some doing their homework. Aria sat with her classmates Ivy Wood and Neil Nilsson. Ivy, your local bibliophile, has plaited chestnut hair, black-rimmed glasses, and bright sky-blue eyes. Her outfit consists of a black hoodie and a black skirt. Perhaps, she is a bit of a goth. Neil is too kind and too nice. With a bright smile plastered on his face and as carefree as can be, but be prepared for a shock if you see him in the library. Focused eyes and jolting down notes, his messy sandy blonde hair moving from side to side, and his clothes unkempt.

Aria was busy taking notes. She didn't notice the estranged presence in the room nor the cold gaze those ice blue eyes cast at her, perhaps it was for the best.

~~~~~~

Saying goodbye to her classmates or friends? Were they even friends? Shaking her head she now noted how dusk was beginning to fall. Taking a long way back, she noticed a presence behind her as she went into alleyways, cursed herself for having a death wish. Gathering up her courage she turned her head behind her. The shock was evident on her face as a boy, disheveled blond hair and green eyes scanned as if to assess her, his clothes wrinkle-free and clean no doubt this boy was Eli Tuffin the ‘prince charming of the school’ the coolest boy there is, now why was ‘he’ following her? She wasn’t a popular girl, so why? Willing herself to be calm, she finally spoke “ Why are you following me?” A gut feeling told her he was going to lie, lie about his house being on the same street with her. She didn’t know why her mind conjured up such ideas, perhaps desperation? After all, everybody knows that his adobe is clearly on the other side of the road. Conveniently, she didn’t think that he knew that she knew. She gazed at him, tilting her head to the side albeit looking innocent. He said “ My house is on the same street, ten blocks away from yours. The streets are too empty and I saw you heading towards the exact alleyway to my house.” he smiled. A malicious look in his eyes flashed. Her gut feeling was right after all. Why? She’ll ponder that later. Now, she’ll focus on Eli. Something screamed at her telling her to unleash, as her mind was blinded by black, pure black. Her hand moved instinctively as if she’d practiced this a hundred times. Flowing hands performing, performing…. Something. She too was clueless. Never in her life, had Aria been clueless about something, be it a test, a project, or pop quizzes surprised her it was like she had the power to control the future and anticipate it. Guess the ‘change’ she predicted happened. Now, what about this? A small blue-black mist appeared from her peripheral vision. Slowly growing bigger and bigger. Before she knew it Eli was sucked in and completely disappeared from existence.

A shocked gasp escaped her. The only thing left was a small dome. It looked like a world as she peered closer she could see Eli from the inside. A breath of relief. Now another troublesome problem, how was she supposed to send him back here. “Impressive” snapping her head back she was met with one of the outcasts of town. Seemingly the leader. Hickory brown eyes focused on her and only her. She surveyed him. Hickory brown eyes with a tinge of gold, pale skin, ebony disheveled hair, a black hoodie, and a pair of jet black jeans. She always wondered why they were the odd kids. Tilting her head to challenge him and question him. He somehow understood her “You’re Amanda Aalto’s daughter. The wave of the East. Did she not tell you?” The w-what??! East? Wave? Aalto? Mom’s maiden name was Crimson. I think I’m gonna pass out from this info…. “I am Amanda Solace’s daughter, not Aalto and her maiden name was Crimson, sorry… Mr? She timidly spoke.

“So she didn’t tell you. Her maiden name was Aalto, not Crimson, Aria. Though, I guess it was for your safety.” chuckling as he replied.

“Aalto?”

“Yes.”

“By the way, I’m Charon. Charon Nyx. From the Nyx family. Don’t forget to tell your mom this Aria. see you and I'll take this.” holding up her globe with Eli inside.

With that, he disappeared into the night. Aria felt all the power disappear from her body, looking in front. She took note that s-sh-she arrived in front of her house. HOW?????!! Was it Charon? Did he have anything to do with this? Where was the globe? Did he take it? Swaying her head from side to side to survey her surroundings turns out she was right. Charon had something to do with this, a scroll in her right hand as she began to open it, she remembered his words. Right she had to show her mum. If she was her mum. Her house wait…. this wasn’t her house, her house was the one beside this. Burberry 28/ 356, not Burberry 27/356. ‘That guy, I swear he’s an idiot’ shaking her head she began to go to her house, not her neighbors. Acting as normal as can be she reached her porched and silently thought back her choices. Her father had some lawyer work to do. Her brother mentioned that he had a sleepover at Murry’s a few days ago so that leaves her dear mother. Her dear mother. Sighing. She went in. Slipping off her shoes and changed to her slippers. She heard her dear mum’s voice beckoning her for dinner. Her mother is a politician and a housewife. Strong, one way to describe her but now the only thing that rang in her head was ‘Liar’. Her whole life was lied to. Whether to protect her or not she didn’t know.

Signing for the hundredth time that day. She went into the kitchen and found her mum cooking. Everything looked normal. Thinking back, her mother was the best liar. No slip-ups and looked innocent. "You've been sighing a lot. Something's up, isn't it, dear?" Her mother's voice jolted her back to reality.

"Nothing."

"Are you sure, dear?" her mother was persistent as always.

Giving in, Aria said, "Why did you hide the existence of powers, mother?"

The look on Amanda was priceless, shock, confusion, and a hint of fury were there.

Amanda gave Aria a stern look "h-h-how did you f-find o-o-out ?" Her mother stuttered out her reply "It was supposed to be a secret Aria. I did everything but even then, I couldn’t conceal the true identity of you and me. I'm guessing you want answers? I'll give it to you just not today Aria." She said with a stern voice silencing all the questions that penetrate Aria's mind. Biting back her tongue. Aria decided to take her mother's words and focus on her assignment for tomorrow.

Suddenly her mother's voice rang "Since you know about this, I'm guessing someone from the Nyx family told you?"

Snapping her gaze back to her mother she hesitantly nodded unsure of her voice.

"It was Charon wasn't it?"

Another nod answered her question. Amanda sighed as she tipped her head back.

"Well, you'll be sent to mystique academy for young outcasts like you, I was planning to put you in when you were older, but there was a change because tonight you accidentally warped a child named Eli Tuffin to the alternate dimension. How do I know this and the Nyx family? The scroll you were holding."

Looking in her bag she didn't even see when her mother took it. So how?

"You were too absorbed in your work, you didn't see me take it." Her mother explained "Charon Nyx and his team will be here at midnight with a supervisor, assuming that he did tell. So, pack up Aria your life will change tonight." Her mother explained, smiling softly at her ever-changing girl.

"W-what?! Tonight b-b-but I have school tomorrow. How about Neil and Ivy?" Aria sputtered out.

"I'll take care of everything Aria, only bring your clothes and a few things of your choice, from books to stuffed animals. The rest will be provided. Don't let your father and Alex know, ok? Hurry."

With that Aria raced to her room. Hastily grabbing her clothes and a few books to keep her company.

Looking back to her room, admiral blue wall with bookshelves, her desk full of homework she hadn't done, yet. She already made bed as her slate blanket draped across. Picture frames hanging on the walls, pictures of Alex and her, her parents, and Ivy and Neil.

Perhaps, it was for the better, leaving her life behind to be who she is. Even has to be friends with outcasts or be an outcast. Never in her life had she seen this coming. 'Interesting' Aria thought. 'Maybe I'll make friends? Wait, mom said team right Charon and his team. Maybe I'll be friends with them.' Smiling to herself Aria felt a burst of excitement and anticipation rush through her as she began to descend the stairs. Holding her flint-colored bag on her right. She watched as her mother set the table. 'She must've been shocked that I knew of the existence of outcasts.' Her emerald eyes softened as she looked at her dear mom. 'I've always wondered why my eyes were emerald green instead of mint green. Perhaps someone in my mom's bloodline had the same colors as mine?' Her mind wandered over to the time she had gone home earlier than usual and spotted her mom looking at a family picture. Her cerulean-violet eyes staring longingly at the picture, Aria couldn't bring herself to make her presence known. So, she went back to school to study as usual. Perhaps that picture was connected to her family. Aria didn’t get a good look at it though. Sighing again, Aria handed over her bag to her mother. Aria's mother found this gesture surprising. Her mother chuckled at her.

“Aria, you’ll hold on to this. Not me. Your father is gonna come home any minute now. So, you better hide it. I put on some sleep meds. He’ll be knocked out till dawn. That’ll give us time to sneak away and you to go to The Mystique Academy and learn lots and become a powerful outcast to overthrow the curse.”

Nodding Aria noticed what her mother said about a curse. ‘Could it be? Was it this curse that made her mother flee?’

“Was it because of this so-called ‘curse’ you had to flee mom?”

Amanda visibly flinched.

“Well,” her mother started. Suddenly, her mother’s cerulean-violet eyes were shocked as if she’d been caught red-handed.“ you need to hide that bag of yours, dad will be home soon.” Aria was jaw dropped. Her thoughts raced one mile per second. As she dashed up the stairs.‘How did mom know about dad being close? If so, she must’ve known about me coming home that day.’

After she put her bag down on her wooden floor, Aria heard the front door unlock ‘Could it be?’ Racing down the stairs, the sight betrayed her mind. How could her mother know when her father was about to arrive? Calming the storm in her head. She noted how exhausted her father looked, mint green eyes droopy, untied tie, a wrinkled shirt, tousled midnight hair. ‘Must’ve been a hard day at work’ Greeting her father as he made his way to the kitchen, He hummed out his reply, before fully understanding that Aria greeted him. Smiling, he immediately hugged her while whispering in her ear “ You came home before me, that’s new. Did something happen?” Shaking her head, Ethan took that as her ‘no’

“Well since we’re home, Let’s eat!” Her father was pleased with her being home for the first time since middle school. Aria, however, wasn't delighted. Who would be? Have your last dinner with your father before you go somewhere you don't even know. Forcing on a smile, she sat with her parents as they happily chatted about their daily events, purposely leaving out that she’d sent Eli towards another dimension. After dinnertime, Ethan immediately started to get sleepy. Unbeknownst to him, the drug had started to take its effect. Gradually taking its effect, Ethan dozed off to sleep. Her mother looked like she did this every day. Her thoughts were jumbled, thinking if she should or shouldn’t help her mom carry her father up.

“I’ll take your dad up, get your bag. I’ll brief you about The Mystique Academy before you go.” her mother’s voice jolted her from overthinking everything, again. Knowing it was useless arguing against her mom, she climbed up the stairs to her bedroom and grabbed her flint-colored bag with her.

Before going out, Aria checked her desk clock, ‘10:23 pm’ it read. ‘That means I have around one hour left.’ Pouting slightly, Aria descended.

Her mom was preparing tea and biscuits for their little ‘chat’.

“So, what’s this briefing about?” Aria asked as she sat.

“Aria, what did I say about scaring me?”

Shrugging, Aria nonchalantly replied, “That I shouldn’t scare you or you’ll get a heart attack?”

“No, sneaking up on me Aria.” Sighing, her mom decides to take a seat beside her. “We don’t have time for petty arguments like this, for now, Aria. I’ll get to the point, The Mystique Academy is a regal academy for outcasts like us. I studied there too because of the Aalto family name. The Mystique Academy has enchantment, alchemy, polyglot, a sport of choice, literature, arts, astronomy, astrology, and a basic understanding of human nature. Every month there'll be a competition held by all the outcast schools. Mystique is only one out of many, but it's the most regal and prestigious. Big families and people that want to make a name for themselves go there. Age ranges from 11 to 19 which equals 7 years of education. You're quite late, but it's still at the beginning of the school year, Aria. You'll be late for your studies. I could ask my father to help you. Other than that you'll just need to find a certain sport. There is archery, sword spar, and army training. Every Friday there is ability training, a teacher would supervise you. There will be a dormitory, if I'm not wrong Viridian Fern will be your dorm mate. Viridian is a part of Charon's team; you'll meet her later. Any questions?”

Silence enveloped them as Aria began to process her mother's words 'Alchemy? Enchantment? Polyglot? Weird, but does it feel normal? Viridian Fern? An odd name, I hope she's nice.' After collecting her thoughts Aria finally spoke

".....That's a lot to process." Aria deadpanned.

“Well, I don't expect you to remember it all, Aria. You'll be needing that information for sure.”

Sighing aria tilted her head back in an attempt to relieve her stress and her thoughts.

“When will they be here?” Aria asks

“In a few minutes, perhaps? Did you bring everything you need Aria?”

Humming out her reply, Aria began to daydream about her new life, Will it be rainbows and butterflies? Or will it be a storm and terror? Will she be alone? Will she have a backup? Will people be after her family name? Or will she have real friends? Hopefully, this Viridian girl is nice…… As Aria's thoughts ran wild she didn't notice when her mother slept nor did she notice the time. Her eyes were getting droopy and a yawn escaped her a few minutes ago, the tea ran dry and all that was left of the biscuits were crumbs. As she slowly succumbed to her tiredness, the annoying doorbell rang jolting both Aria and her mother out of their reverie. Aria ran to the door, not even bothering to check who was at the door at this unearthly hour. Opening the door the first thing she saw was people, 5 of them to be exact. A girl her age and 3 boys (one of them being Charon) and a man perhaps their supervisor? The girl was as delicate as a daisy, but Aria was sure she could kill if she wanted to, her fine pale face, big curious midnight eyes, ebony shoulder-length hair that was styled into an updo, she wore a simple pink flower dress that reached her knees with simple black flats to complete the look. She was Viridian Fern, wasn't she?

"Hi, you must be Aria Aalto, right? I'm Viridian Fern, nice to meet you." Viridian smiled softly.

"Er….hello to you too, Viridian, and it's Solace." Aria was technically unsure of her answer, but she hoped that would suffice.

"Hey! You spoke more to Viridian than to me when we first met." Charon yelled

"It just means she likes me more than you Charon, now hand it over," Viridian spoke in a tone that sounded like a child that had too much sugar. Begrudgingly, Charon handed something that looked like a tiny silver box to Viridian.

"Don't mind them. They're like this, I'm Reve Yuyin." True to his name Reve looked like he stepped out of a dream, he had chiseled features, but he still had some baby fat to them. His dirty blond hair styled to a pompadour, and he had electric blue eyes that had a mischievous glint in them. He wore a simple blue v-neck tee and black leggings with a pair of black converse that complimented him. "Nice to meet you too, Reve." He simply nodded, Viridian and Charon were bickering in the background as she noticed their mentor was gone, so was her mom. Confused, Aria went back into her house to see the paperwork on the living room table and her mother signing a few of them, while their mentor was sipping on his tea. "That's Professor Marion, our astronomy and astrology professor. He’s a nice person, one of the only outcasts allowed to go to the human world.”

“Huh?” Shocked, Aria spun around only to be faced with the last one of the guys.

“I’m Hugo Conrad, the oldest one of us.” He had tan skin and more prominent features than Charon, frost-colored eyes as his russet hair was styled to a 7:3 ratio. He wore a much more formal look, a polo shirt, and a pair of trousers with a pair of casual boots. He had this aura to him, mysterious.

“Mysterious, huh?” He chuckled “No one ever thought of that, it’s quite funny.”

“How did you read my thoughts?”

“I’m what you call a telepath, though I prefer being called mind trespasser, gives me more of the feel you know?”

“I don’t get it.”

Hugo had this dumb look on his face like giving someone too much info and they paused to process. Ignoring Hugo, Aria focused on their astronomy and astrology professor, Marion. He looked timeless. With silky tawny hair, linen eyes, peachy skin, he looked young but the shine in his eyes tells a different story. Someone who's been through war and seen its effects. His clothing choice was different from the rest, a star-patterned cloak and pewter brogues. 'Perhaps that's what made him stand out.'

"I won't be joining you Aria so I'll leave you with Marion and team peripatetic." Her mom was getting up and hugged her like there was no tomorrow. Hugging back, Aria knew she wouldn't see her mom in a long, long time. Releasing the hug, Aria smiled. Something she didn't do ever since that incident. Amanda smiled back.

"Don't grow up too fast. I'll send a message to your grandpa about this fiasco. Don't worry about Alex and your father."

A cough was heard, spinning around, a voice spoke "we should head out now. Aria, is there anything you're forgetting?" Shaking her head. Aria walked out of her house, one step toward her future and one step leaving her past behind. Worrying won't do her any good now. She'll make friends and she'll show the world who she is. Looking back, she waved to her mother goodbye.

As she set off to her new life.

A sinister voice came out of the darkness "Phase one complete. That Eli kid was useful after all. Now, let's wait."


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