It smelled terribly of smoke. The eight year old didn’t quite know what was happening. She hated the smell of smoke.
She screamed out to her mother as the smoke twisted around her throat and filled her lungs. She was now coughing violently.
Her arms were numb, pinned beneath hot metal. It was funny and strange how it didn’t seem to hurt at all. Perhaps her mind was blocking the sensation?
She called out for her mother again and then her father. This time it was more of a shriek.
Why wasn’t anyone helping her? Why wasn’t anyone answering?
Blood. So much of it. Pouring down her forehead where the glass dug in. It formed a warm pool around her head and seemed to fill her ears.
Her head was spinning, ears ringing. And with a slight turn of her head, through blurry vision she could see feet scrambling by.
The sound of a siren blaring—one of the newest Satomobile models. A model specially designed for the cops.
“There’s a girl in there!” Came a voice.
“Is she alive?” Came another.
The girl cried out again. The men were out of sight, but the shuffling of feet towards her was reassuring.
“Her arms are stuck under the car.” The first pointed out. “Can we get a metal bender over here!? And make it fast, I don’t know how long the girl has been here.”
A cop now looked her in the eyes, his sparkling with fear and sympathy. “It’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna get you out of here, I promise.” She recognized his voice as the second.
“I’m scared.” She whispered.
“How did this happen? Do you know?”
She shook her head. All she really remembered was the squealing of tires and her father swerving into the other lane.
“She’s pinned beneath these two Satomobiles.” The first cop explained to the metalbender.
“My God. The poor thing must have crashed through the windshield or jumped out or something.” The metalbender was a woman.
“So what’s your name kid?” The second cop asked as the metalbender maneuvered the car off of her.
“Ming Hua.” She practically whispered. “Where are my parents?”
From the way he bit his lip…the way the light in his eyes changed, Ming Hua could predict exactly what he’d tell her.
“It was painless. It happened so quick they wouldn’t have had time to feel pain nor fear.” The cop frowned.
Ming didn’t know quite how to respond so she just lie there quietly, her expression blank. She just lost her parents. She felt tears prickling behind her eyes.
“How bad does it look Jing?” The metalbender asked the cop Ming had been talking to.
His expression grew even grimmer. “Not good at all. I…I don’t think we can fix them.”
“Fix what?” Asked the first cop.
Jing remained silent for a few moments. “Her arms, both of them.”
“Then what the hell are we supposed to do?” He hollered.
The tears Ming Hua had been surpassing brimmed over, as her panic swelled to new extremes. She was going to die and she hadn’t even a chance to live.
Jing squeezed her hand.
She couldn’t feel a thing.
“It’s gonna be okay.” He kept repeating.
She couldn’t bring herself to vocalize her disbelief.
“Listen to me, child.” Came a new voice. A doctor. “I need you to inhale this herbal mixture. It’ll put you to sleep for a few hours…”
“I don’t want to go to sleep!” Ming spat through her tears.
“Trust me, you will want to.” The doctor replied. “We’re going to have to amputate your arms, and you will not be awake when we do.”
Ming’s heart began to pound, breaths escaping her lips quick and erratically. She had to find a way out of there, she had to…
The smell of herbs tickled her nose before she could formulate an escape route.
Ming Hua woke up in a small, cozy room, lying face up on a soft mattress.
When did she get there?
Where was, there? It certainly wasn’t her room.
“Dad…” She murmured.
She signaled for her hand to brush a strand of hair out of her face. But no arm moved to meet her demand.
And then all the memories slammed back in her head at once.
Hyperventilating once more, she looked down at where her arms should have been.
And she shrieked again.
She’d never be able to bend again…
She’d never get to be a pro-bender like her father was. Her dream…her life goal—to be the first female pro-bender diminished.
But what did it really matter, she didn’t have any parents to make proud anyhow.
She was an armless freak show with no parents and no home. Her screams now ceased leaving her with only heavy, body shaking sobs.
“You’ll find a way to overcome it.” Came a voice, it was the metalbender. “I know you will. I did.”
Ming Hua made no response to the woman who actually had two fully functioning arms.
“I was born blind.” She continued. “I learned to see with my feet…using earthbending. A while after I invented metalbending. You can say I’m the greatest earthbender who ever lived.” She put on a cocky smile.
“I can’t water bend without arms.” Ming Hua pointed out.
“What if I told you I knew a man who can bend earth using his head and a man that could blow things up with his mind?”
“I’d ask you if you really thought I could bend water with my mind.” Ming frowned.
“I’d say, I think you’re going to learn to do strange things.”