Meet Oliver. He’s a sweet kid.

After learning Breslin and Luke both had segments on my blog, Oliver insisted he was next. So, here he is: MARKED’s very own hero.

* * *

Even at nine, I’m treated like a toddler. Or at least I feel like I am. For instance, since birth, I’ve born a mark on my left palm. This isn’t odd or anything —  every other Marked has one. But unlike the rest, I’ve had to keep my mark hidden. No one has told me why, not even my grandma; only that I’d find out one day. For months, years even, I bugged her for answers. But each time, her response was the same: “You’ll find out when it’s time.”

“But when?” I’d counter.

Her eyes twinkled as they surveyed my face, shooting me the tiniest bit of hope; however, as predictable as always, she’d say with a sigh, “When it’s time.”

Finally, I gave in and stopped asking. I cooperated. I stayed home for school. I succumbed to the fact that eventually I’d find out what my mark meant. But that didn’t help ease the jolt of jealousy I felt every time I’d see kids use theirs.

I tried time after time to get my mark to work. I’d stare at it, hoping it would do what Marks: A Beginner’s Guide described in chapter one: concentrate on yielding your mark’s skill, wait for the mark’s outline to glow, then guide your mark to act. I’ve practically pulled a muscle concentrating so hard. As always, the glowing emblem would appear. But then nothing. So, I’d flip through the book, carefully reading each description. 

The Gift Mark would produce multiples of something.

The Fire Mark would cause flames to ignite.

The Joy Mark would alter someone’s emotions.

And so on, each description displaying the image of its mark.

Except for mine.

I’d flip to the section of the book where three pages were missing. And like always, struggle to understand why. Without a reference, forcing my mark to work was like trying to construct a building with missing blueprints. One of these days I’ll learn why. Until then, I wait.

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