Prompt: Essence of ______
Cecily liked auras. She liked that they were sparkly and shiny. She liked all the different colors, and the ways they swirled and danced. She liked that she knew someone's mood just by the way their aura crackled.
And mostly she liked that she was the only one who could see them.
For all twelve years of her life, Cecily had been last. She was the last child in her family. The last to walk, the last to talk, the last to potty train, the last to read. In school, she was last in her class. Last to finish tests. Last to be promoted from primary school. Last to get a hit in softball, last to finish the mile run.
Last, last, last. Always last.
But none of Cecily's brothers and sisters could see auras. None of her classmates knew how passionately red they got, or that "green with jealousy" wasn't just a metaphor, or to never approach anyone who was ice blue. Even her parents and teachers didn't understand why they were drawn to someone with a sparkly aura or repelled from someone whose aura was turned in on itself.
But Cecily knew all that.
She just didn't know what to do with that knowledge.
So when the strange man in the park said, "You're full of purple swirls," to her, Cecily didn't keep walking like her parents' Stranger Danger videos had suggested she do. She gave him a considering look before replying, "Well, you're yellow with orange spots," partly because it was true and partly to see what he would say.
He smiled broadly, displaying every one of his white, straight teeth. "I thought so," he said. "But you can't see your own aura, you know."
His smile got even bigger. "I thought you would know, too."
"So you see them too then?" Cecily asked because she was too excited to wait for him to get to the point.
"Of course I do. How else would have known about you?"
"You could be lying about me. I can't see it, remember?"
He looked like she had been particularly clever. "How about that boy on the swingset?" he asked, motioning with an open palm. Cecily thought that was much less rude than pointing.
"I see him," she said carefully.
"Bright yellow, with sparkles and a green swirl, right?"
Cecily felt like her whole face had split into a grin. "Yes! He's jealous because his mother won't let him go on the monkey bars, but he's having a good time on the swing too!"
"Clever girl," the man murmured. "There are others like us. Not many, but some. I know how to find them, if you want."
"Yes," Cecily gasped, then paused. "But... but I shouldn't go with you. I don't know you."
He considered that. "I'm Decker. Colin Decker."
"Cecily Brookside." She shook his proffered hand.
"What if I give you the address, Cecily Brookside?" Decker asked, digging in one of many pockets on his coat and drawing out a scrap of paper and a pen. "And you can decide when and if you want to come. There's always someone there. I'll tell them to expect you."
She took the paper from him. "I... okay." She bounced on her toes for a moment before adding, "Thank you."
"I hope you come," he told her honestly. "I think it could be just what you need." There was a faraway look in his eyes when he added, "I think you could be just what they need too."
And then he was gone. Not in a flash or a blink like some silly movie, but with a thumbing of his nose and a brisk walk, his aura swirling until it was a glowing, cheerful orange. Cecily looked at the address again. Tomorrow, she decided. I'll go see them tomorrow.