The Naming of Flora Lui

Sunlight peeks in through your window, but you squint your eyes and bury your head into your pillow. Mornings. You want nothing to do with them; especially this morning. Already, you hear the rumblings of people in the house. Your family. Nerves flood your body as the image of you, sitting before more than fifty people, waiting for the Reader to determine your life…go back to bed. Go back to bed, you repeat, snuggled down under the covers.

“Get up!”

Too late. You’ve been found.

“Flora, the Reader’s here.”

“What?” You bolt out of bed. How long have you been asleep? It doesn’t matter. Your sister is already pulling the sheets off the bed, pilling them on the floor. So you hurry to get ready, ignoring her laughter and chants. At only ten, she still has three years to remain a child. It’ll go fast, though. Thirteen comes all too quickly.

Hair brushed, dress on, teeth brushed, you make your way to the living room. Your three sisters stand beside a chair, your mom is somewhere in the kitchen, no doubt, and several aunts and uncles sit chatting in the surrounding room. Slowly, you take your seat, shooing your giggly sisters away. You rub your hands together. Take deep breaths. As you suddenly spot her in the corner.

The Reader.

She approaches you, instantly quieting the room. Her hair drapes over her body, long and heavy. Her stormy eyes pierce your own with a searching, surveying look. You try to look away, but her gaze holds you. She then stops; reaches into a small pouch around her waist, and produces a quill and piece of parchment. For a few breathless seconds, she lets the quill tip swim across the paper, ink forming letters you can’t yet see. But know. Know it’s producing a word that will define your everything.

Seconds feel like minutes. Which feel like hours. Finally, she pockets the quill and holds out the slip of paper. No one yet, not even the Reader can see what your Naming has revealed. Until you take the parchment in your hands. You wet your lips; swallow deep; glance at the expectant faces around the room.

Then speak.

“Flora Lui. Amiable.”

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