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|Chapter Five (The Gift)|
April 21, 2014
How long have I been asleep? I think. The bright rays burning my eyes show an almost late morning or early noon, which would mean I've been knocked out for almost twelve hours.
I attempt to stand up. The pain in my head pulls me down and I force myself to sit. I suddenly realize how many times I've been knocked out. I finally get the strength to stand up, making myself dizzy and wanting to fall down again. I grab the wooden handle on the door and pull it, making me come back with it. I abruptly grab the handle on the front of the door and stumble into the hallway. I fall onto the wall, pulling for relief. I finally get the strength and turn the corner, gazing at a circle of men sitting outside the door at the end of the hallway.
I fumble towards them. A man notices me and grabs me for support. He guides me towards a spot on the ground for me to sit. I try my best not to fall onto my back.
I recognize the man guiding me. It's Lieutenant Kaskae. Nujalik's father.
"How are you feeling?" he asks me. All I do is moan. I barely have the strength to say anything.
"We'll get you some treatment when we get back to the base," he says. I can faintly see one of the men pouring some stewed sea prunes and handing it to me.
"Here you go," he says. "It should make you feel somewhat better." It's the voice of Aukaneck. I nearly jump at the sound of his voice.
"Aukaneck!" I exclaim.
"We decided the crews based on age and social affiliation. We believed that they would work better together if they knew each other and could relate to one another."
I look around at the people on the boat. I recognize most of them. They are friends of Auckaneck. I begin to drink the stew. The warmth almost melts away my headache. I am feeling better already.
"Why don't you try and get to know the rest of the crew?" he suggests. We clean up the picnic. Kaskae goes back to his bedroom, leaving the crew on the deck by themselves. They begin to practice their waterbending, almost playing around with each other. I ask my brother if he could teach me some more techniques.
"Sure," he says. He jets out water from the ocean and snakes it around himself.
"Today, I'm gonna teach you the water spout." He guides it toward me until I can gain control of it.
"Circle it around you," he commands. "And do it quick. Then jump into the air and let it levitate you." He lets go and I spin around. I jump and the water pushes me up into the air. The water is levitating me. I can see the entire boat. Joy fills up inside of me. I rush around the boat on my whirlpool. The other crew members run from me playfully. I felt so free. It was a feeling I had never felt before. All my life I had been living in a small, secluded Water Tribe town at the top of the North Pole. I had never experienced what it's like to see an ocean that's not frozen or bend water that I don't have to unfreeze. I finally decide it's time to stop and let the water flow out from under me and back into the ocean.
Lieutenant Kaskae walks out. There was a look of exasperation on his face.
"Were you just....waterbending?" he asks.
Aukaneck and I look at each other with fear. His face relaxes.
"As long as I don't see it, I'm okay with it." Aukaneck and I look at each other again, but with amazement this time. He begins to walk back towards his bedroom. I rush towards him.
"Are you serious?" I ask him. I am still in shock. He looks me in the eyes.
"Let's just say some of us agree with Chief Tulugaq, and some of us don't."
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