I had always been intrigued by fame. The memory of my name carrying on years after my death was my one true goal. And finally there was a way I could achieve it – complete immortality. There was a contest in which winning guaranteed a spot on the television, and perhaps even a biography. I had to win.

I had spent months training for that competition. Twelve hours every day I practiced on the recreational field. The first day of the week was concentration. Day two was light control. And to kick off mid-week, I focused on agility. Then it all started over again. Rinse and repeat.

Now was the day of truth. Today each of us contestants gets to demonstrate the product of rigorous training to thousands of viewers. And it was possible that a few of them would agree to sponsor one of us in other contests, if one were good enough.

My name was finally called, and I walked to the stage. The routine was to state my identification and my tribe clearly in front of my audience. Any mistakes on my part could lead to disqualification, or worse, humiliation. So I stayed careful and vigilant. Afterwards would be the start of my presentation. The goal was to captivate the spectators. This is what we each prepared so vigorously for. Even though this was my first time participating, I had watched clips of previous victors. I had it all down. Ultimately, it was all about shock and awe.

I focused a burning orb of energy onto my palm and watched it expand and grow. With my every heartbeat, waves of vermilion pulsed from the sphere. I was holding a miniature star in my hand.

Wielding such energy was not without repercussions, though. The sphere was only the width of my palm, but it burned just as powerfully as its larger counterparts. Immediately my hand began to throb. Before I knew it, my arm burned carmine with raging heat flowing within it. Regardless, though, I persisted and maintained my posture and demeanor. No pain, no fame. Isn’t that how it’s said?

My creation did just as I had commanded, which pleased my audience. Beams of blue and purple shot from the base of my palm and pierced the sky. I had mesmerized the audience with my power. Just watch this, I thought.

With my other hand I made an even larger energy ball, from the smaller one. This was a feat I had not planned nor practiced, so my surprise was genuine when I started losing control. The heat from the orb was growing more intense. It was too much.

I yelped and fell to my knees. I tried to release the light, but I couldn’t. Release was something I didn’t practice, as I believed that was the simplest part. So when the ball wouldn’t respond, I panicked and ran toward the viewers. I pleaded, “Help me!”

Tears streamed my face as the mini-star scorched my arms and burned through my clothes into my torso. But I wasn’t upset that I was probably going to die as a result of my negligence. I wasn’t crying for the lives of the dozens of viewers.

Nobody would ever want to sponsor me after this.

The star, my creation, had already enveloped me and was beyond control. The thing emitted flares that took out one side of the stadium.

They were fleeing, all of them. Mothers were calling their children and businessmen were tripping over their feet. But nobody would escape with their lives. They would all be devoured by my hungry flame.

Word of the chaos of what I had done spread fast, and soon I noticed the whirling propeller of a hovering media copter. The realization startled me. Despite my flesh dripping off my bones like candle wax, what was left of my lips widened to a grin.

I won.

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