This week, our writers celebrate reaching 600 followers on Instagram through a free week! Additionally, enjoy a story authored by our first writing ambassador Morgan! If you are interested in joining our team as a member or ambassador, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or dm us over Instagram @theoutlet.inspire!
If the world fell down
By: Ava Arasan
The world collapsed in on itself
The trees shook in the tide
The mountains managed to crash,
Yet they managed to survive,
The ground rolled up to the sky,
And space fell to the ground,
They slid across the universe,
Yet they managed to swing back around,
Blood was shed,
And lives were taken,
But yet there they were still,
And they whispered quiet words to hell,
Yet still their fears,
they managed to quell,
Yet in the minds of their descendants,
In the rise and swell of time,
All went perfectly well, perfectly fine,
For they have made themselves blind,
And they breathe that air
bittersweet air of old,
Yet they do not care for the stories
That were painstakingly told
100 or 1,000 years ago.
So they continue on,
Their minds have gone,
Treading like zombies,
The unsuspecting pawns,
Of the treats that they wrap their heads in,
Every minute of the day,
Never worrying or weighing,
The consequences they will pay,
They must step out
Of the lure
Of the trap,
And unite the countries,
Strewn across the map,
For if our skyscrapers collapse,
And our cities cave in,
After all their effort,
Who will be left to win?
By: Morgan g
My feet feel as light as ever as I race through the forest. There’s a small trail here, so I don’t have to worry about tripping over the underbrush, aside from a few tree roots. I know this path well, and I know the exact moment I will run out of land to walk on. Instead, I’ll take to the air. After another minute of running, I reach the cliff. Not bothering to slow my pace, I jump into the air. As gravity starts to pull me down, I let my wings unfold to catch an air current.
The sun is warm on my yellow and orange feathers as I fly back home. I didn’t go as far today-even though I so wanted to-because I was grounded a few days ago. My mother worries too much. She just doesn’t understand me. Not like my dad did...before he was killed.
A large floating package almost knocks me out of the sky after I swerve to avoid the top of a tree. I recognize the human mail stamp on the top. It has a picture of a mountain with some trees on it, representing our home. The humans in the nearby city always send these weekly packages, as a thank you for everything past generations, and the current council, have done for them.
My mother is one of the last ones on the council. She’s expecting me to take her place when I become of age, but that’s not what I want. And she knows that. Actually, the entire flock does. I’m not what the humans would call, a good liar. There aren’t many, if any at all, secrets among the group. It’s not easy to have privacy in such a small flock.
I follow the package as it rides along an air current, one I recognize as Petal’s work. She’s the last Air Bender we have, so the council doesn’t allow her to leave home often. Petal is 19, two years older than me, but she’s so friendly and kind that I’ve always felt close to her. My mother wants me to look up to her, to follow in her footsteps in becoming a leader.
I shake my head to clear it as I spot a pair of bright blue wings beneath me. I’m almost at the tunnel entrance, but the boy is heading in the direction away from it. I smile to myself before tucking in my wings so I can dive through the air. River looks up a moment before I crash into him, but he doesn’t have time to move, resulting in the two of us falling to the trees below. I had my wings tucked in already, but as we fall through the branches, I hear River wince. I land on a lower branch close to the forest floor, alone.
“Your mother sent me to come and find you. Now pull me out of here so we can go back.” River calls down from a couple of branches above. His sky blue wings stand out against the trees.
“Oh River, stop frowning! You’ll get wrinkles.” I smile and laugh as I pull him down to stand on the branch beside me.
“I’m serious Dahlia. You need to be more responsible. Has following Petal around taught you nothing?” His stern expression lifts a bit when he mentions his soon to be wife.
“What’s gotten into you River? Where’s the playful boy I grew up with?” He used to love our game of secretly attacking each other mid-air, causing the other one to fall to the trees below.
“He grew up. And I suggest you do the same. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows Dahlia. You need to finish your training so that you’ll be ready.”
“You sound like my mother.” I roll my eyes, but he doesn’t laugh.
“At least you have a mother.”
“River, I didn’t mean-” I try to turn the conversation around, but it doesn’t matter, he’s already turning away.
“It would be wise not to keep her waiting.” River takes a few steps before finding an open space in the tree cover. In a few seconds, he’s gone.
Part of me wants to stay here and not follow him, to show my mother that she can’t control me forever. But I remember that a similar situation got me grounded the last time. Already predicting my mother’s reaction, I fly up through the same gap in the branches.
After flying behind River through the short tunnel, I land behind him in the Flock’s home. A secret part of the forest, with a wide clearing and huge trees, strong enough to hold our nests. A path to the left leads to a smaller clearing, the council’s meeting circle, with tree stumps as chairs. The path on the right leads to a messy, dirty, and full of broken branches clearing, our training area. Or rather, the rest of the Flock’s training area. I prefer spending my days outside, exploring, flying, or running across the forest.
River heads toward the council’s circle, probably to get me into even more trouble, because...I actually snuck out today. I’ve been stuck here for two days and I was getting restless. Two days! How does she expect me to train all day every day for a week?!
She always says how I have to be ready, ready to take her place as Queen one day. Both my mother and I have Light abilities, and the ability to control light is the most powerful. Apparently. I sometimes think my friends are stronger than I am in a fight.
Since my father was killed, the council didn’t want me to have to lead alone, so they gave me a boyfriend, who’s now my finance. My mother and I are the last Light Benders, and since Earth Benders are the second most powerful, they chose Fern, someone I’ve grown up with, and trained with. I only participate in required training battles, and when I do, it’s not always obvious that our teenage Earth Bender is one of the most powerful in our age group,
After Light and Earth on the most powerful scale, comes Water, Ice, Fire and last, Air. Positions on the council are determined based on abilities. Both Fern and I are 17, almost of age to join the council. They expect us to have children as soon as possible; they won’t quit nagging me to actually stay at home and spend time with him. Fern means well...but he knows my heart belongs to the forest.
Along with Fern and I, the other couples our age are also expected to carry on the next generation. The Flock is getting smaller each year, with only 18 of us left.
There’s Frost, who’s 18, mating with Ember, who’s 17. We’re all named something that has to do with our ability. Like Frost, who is an Ice Bender. I’m still not sure why the council paired ice with fire. I guess opposites attract. Petal and River are a couple too, she’s a year older than him at 19. Frost’s twin, Crystal, is with Petal’s younger brother, Sky.
Nearly all of us have only one parent on the council, the only exception being River, who lost both of his parents in the last year. Speaking of the blue-winged Water Bender, River steps aside to present the Queen, standing across the clearing from me. The others are training and the rest of the council must still be talking, so it’s just the three of us out here.
“You dare disobey me after I grounded you! What was I to think when River discovered you missing during training? You could have been killed, just like your father.” The way her voice softens at the end, makes me think she misses him more then she lets on.
“I just went out for a short fly!”
She raises her hand to silence me, “No excuses. You are now grounded for an additional two weeks. Throughout your training, River will follow you around to make sure you are always exactly where you are supposed to be.”
River steps forward to object, I’m guessing by the angry look on his face, but my mother dismisses him with a wave of her hand.
Suddenly she looks towards the entrance, where the leaves are turning black, the darkness spreading quickly from tree to tree. I see the shape of someone standing in the shadows of the tunnel entrance, but I can’t see what they look like. They raise a loaded bow in a split second, the point of the arrow aimed to my right, at my mother. I race towards her, hoping to get in the way of the arrow, but I’m not fast enough.
The arrow shoots through the air. It reaches it’s target just as a body slumps to the ground. But it isn’t my mother’s blood staining the green grass. It’s River’s.