Avatar: the Lost Legend --Chapter 1, the Boy in the Apartment

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Manhattan, New York. City of high rises and fantastic buildings. Large apartments and luxurious mansions. Splendid hotels. Diverse and superb cuisines. A concrete jungle. Centre of the Big Apple. Tourist trap. International fame.

Steve Wellington hated all of it.

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Steve had moved to New York with his mother Laurel over 13 years ago when he was just three years old from the Ohio countryside where they had lived with Grandma Lily, Laurel’s mother. He had never known his father. He knew he should be grateful for the high paying job his mother had gotten in the big city, but he couldn’t help but miss the country. The crowds in the city were depressing. No one cared for anyone else, nor for their environment more than was legally required. The preoccupation with making a living was appalling.

Worse still, he had been feeling extremely strange for the past couple of months, and he had no idea what was wrong. Sometimes, it seemed as though he heard voices in his head, but no matter how much he tried, he could never really hear what they were saying. Other times, he couldn’t help but feel certain that he was the cause of sudden unexplainable, and often weird, breezes. And then, there were the dreams. Whenever he slept, day or night, they were there –a whole set of them, recurring one after the other. In each, he was a different person, battling some great evil. The sense of danger in all of them was palpable, and he always woke with his heart racing. However, he could never remember the details of what they were about. They always faded away.

He was going crazy, and there was no one to talk to about it.

Laurel was a great mom, but she was always so busy and had so much on her mind that Steve didn’t want to give her any more to worry about. So, he acted like all was normal. He went to school, did his chores, studied, and spent the rest of his time watching Nickelodeon and Nat Geo World, hoping he didn’t have a full on mental breakdown.

He was on the edge of a low cliff, looking over a long plain of lush grass and beautiful flowers. The very air was sweet to breathe in and he smiled in satisfaction. It was the perfect place to end it all. The perfect place to begin a new era. He stood and looked back at his companions. They had travelled so far together, but now their journey would end. This last part he had to take alone.

But something was amiss –someone was missing from their little group. Where was she? Why wasn’t she with the others? Then he caught the look in their eyes, and in a moment of clarity, suddenly knew what had happened, the betrayal that had taken place and the danger he was in. He had brought them here, to this most ancient, secret and sacred of places, and now, they would take the totem –the Totem of the Elements –tied securely around his neck and use it for their own purposes. He raised a hand and touched it, glancing down at the rock and wood item –so small and ordinary, but yet so powerful and dangerous.

He faced them and prepared to fight…

Steve’s eyes snapped open. He was disoriented for a few seconds –the darkness around him was in sharp contrast to the bright sunlight of his dream. He was sprawled on the couch in the living room of their modest apartment, the TV provided the only light –apparently, mother still wasn’t in yet. The sounds of the city below filtered in from the balcony.

His heart was racing. This dream was different, more vivid than the others. And this time, he had seen something he actually knew.

The totem of the elements.

It had been years, but he could never forget the strange item that had hung in a special glass case in Grandma’s Lily’s house. It had fascinated him. Why he would suddenly remember it though, he had no idea.

He stood and glanced around in caution. The feeling of danger had not gone away. He had that uncanny feeling that someone was watching him and he couldn’t shake it. A cool draft was coming in from the balcony door. He shut it carefully, then moved to turn on the lights.

Suddenly, there was a sharp knock on the door. Steve froze, surprised. They rarely had visitors and it was late. Who was coming to call at this hour? The person knocked again, urgently this time.

“Who is it?” Steve called, warily.

The person only knocked louder and harder.

“Sheesh!” Steve muttered. “I’m coming already.”

He strode to the door and looked through the peephole. The person on the other side was unfamiliar, but looked safe enough. He was dressed richly and had long hair, and looked to be about Steve’s age. Steve cracked the door and opened his mouth to speak, but the stranger beat him to it.

“Steve Wellington?”

Steve hesitated before replying. “Yes?”

“Steve, open the door. Let me in, quickly!” There was a sense of panicked urgency underlying the words, although he seemed cool and confident.

Steve didn’t budge. This was New York –criminals came in all shapes and sizes. “Why? What is it? Who are you?”

The boy shook his head. “There’s no time to explain,” he said. “You’re in great danger. They are coming.”

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