~Tales of Ever is suitable for readers 10 and up. Originally written as a novella series, it has been reworked and is now available as a complete novel.
A few months ago, I was a normal girl. Life sucked, and just like everyone else, I took the simple things for granted. At least until I got this new power, a “gift” mom called it. Apparently, I’m a firestarter. I didn’t want to be. I didn’t ask to be. It would be cool if it wasn’t so dangerous and I knew how to control it. When an uncle I’d never heard of showed up to take care of me after my mom died, I should have been grateful. As it turned out, my whole family isn’t normal and more than a little bit crazy. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong.
They banished me to Ever.
* * * * *
Welcome to Ever.
Ever; a deadly realm where feared, powerful, and dangerous magical beings are banished. It’s not a world, but a magically created prison you can never break out of. Who, or what, made Ever? I’ve no idea. They were powerful, and cruel. That is all I can tell you.
Ever is like, and unlike, every other world. Nothing is safe. Safety is a dream. Ever is a nightmare. Few survive their first day. Nothing is what it seems. If something appears safe, it isn’t. If something appears dangerous, well it is, but probably more than you think.
Ever has no sun, no moon, and no stars at night. Time is told by the ever changing color of the sky where portals open, dropping new inhabitants or new terrors. Time does pass. Don’t worry, you won’t get old. You won’t live that long.
The landscape changes without reason from desert to jungle. The flora isn’t safe at any time. There is food, if you can find it without getting eaten yourself. Most plants and animals are poisonous. So is the water.
Are you afraid? You should be. This is the end. It gets worse of course. Remember the portals? Do you think angels come through? Innocent people rarely do. Mostly, it is evil people, people too powerful to kill. Their magic works here. The creatures are worse.
Do you understand? Well, you will eventually, or you’ll die. There is no escaping Ever.
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I see it everywhere.
It started a year ago, maybe more. I don’t remember. Images of fire appear more now than they did before.
Flames always dance just out of sight. They flicker on school lockers, in windows, anywhere. Everywhere.
Now they hover over the road as I run. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they were only mirages from the heat. They aren’t real. They never are. Nothing burns, there is no heat. I hate seeing them. Every time they appear, I wonder if I’m crazy.
Glaring at my watch, I round the block. School sucked today, as usual. I’ve run farther and faster than I normally do, trying to push all my stupid problems away while trying to ignore the fire.
The last year I’ve been unsettled. Sometimes I get uncomfortable hot flashes. I don’t understand why. Mom gets them sometimes, too. She says not to worry about it. I wish I could, but I know I’m too young for such things and they have been coming more often.
I can’t tell her about seeing the fire, or about the dreams. She wouldn’t believe me and I don’t want to put more stress on her.
We do Yoga and that helps. So does running. I’ve done a lot of both as the months pass and things only get worse.
It hasn’t been the best year. Mom lost one of her jobs. She found another, but it doesn’t pay as much. Lack of money really stresses her out.
I hope she’ll let me get a decent job soon. Something other than yard work and babysitting. I want to help. Mom looks so tired lately. She’s really starting to worry me.
In a few months, I’ll be sixteen. I haven’t asked about getting my driver’s license. I’m sure Mom won’t bring it up either. We don’t have money for a car, anyway. We don’t even have money for lessons or the stupid license test.
What would I do if something happened to Mom?
I have no idea. We don’t have any really close friends. A few people we sort of talk to, like our old neighbor, Mrs. Green. No family either, at least none that Mom ever talks about.
I don’t have any friends at school. Even though I go to a public school, most of the kids there have money. We don’t, and it shows. People can be so fickle. Of course, I don’t really try to make friends. I fall into the quiet and shy group. Years ago I gave up trying. Too many times I thought I’d found a friend and then got stabbed in the back.
Of course seeing fire sets me apart, too. The fear of someone finding out how weird I am forces me to keep my distance. I know normal people don’t see fire like I do, but some seem obsessed with it. I watch them play with matches and lighters outside at school and I only shake my head.
I’m not obsessed. What I see scares me. If I could, I’d choose to never see the flames again.