Excerpt from "Can I Fly"
Every time I manage to use my powers, nobody looks. They stare through me. But when I fail, they all notice.
“He’s only a young boy,” they say. “Who cares about a novice Potent? We’re god-like compared to him!”
Will they notice me at noon, during my flying ability examination at the Adolescent Trials? I hope so.
I put on my black sky-suit, which will prevent forbidden use of technology during the test. Dad used technology, before he was banished.
Waving goodbye to mother and my infant brother Darik, I take one small step on the long road from breast toward adulthood. A path set from birth for my kind.
Leaving our single roomed cave-hut, I walk along the dusty track to school. Fresh air mixes with pungent fog from the ore-mines. I may require a respirator if it gets much worse. At least I have the luxury of one, unlike the group of mindless human miners that pass me. Their paler skin and lighter eyes is a sign of their lower position in society.
Walking is inefficient. I pity my human cousins for relying on it. I dream of the day I can drift with elegance through clouds, into the starry sky. I wish we were allowed to explore further into the Universe, beyond our Celestial Spheres. But today is a start, today I can show my potential to the teachers, so I may be certified to fly the lower skies unchaperoned.
The fog clears. I arrive at the tall crystalline building which pierces the uneven stony ground, framed by ceremonial fires diffusing spices. My examiners greet me. A group of six teachers from another school, in crisp red judge’s gowns – seasoned warriors passing on their ancient skills, their formality is intimidating, but predictable.
Practice at school and holographic simulations at home as part of my initial training, taught me what to expect. But as I stand on the carved triangular marker, their experienced faces cancel out my confidence and my recollection of how to fly evaporates. After all these years waiting, I am doing this, I have the audience I always craved, but it frightens me.
Distant stringed music, which could sooth under other circumstances, distracts me; I must focus. But the more I try to ignore the gentle tones, the harder they penetrate into my head.
“Ready young one?” a vibrant, dark skinned Potent Lady says.
I nearly jump in shock. This feels rushed now.“Show us you are controlled and capable. Whether you are ready to progress to full training? Now fly!”