The water swelled around Izzy’s feet, chilling her toes. She wiggled them to keep from going numb. The idea that she should have put on her boots took shape in her mind. She gathered the ends of her green satin dress up, but the folds were all ready dripping sea water. Bundling her skirt around her, she turned back to the paining.
The frame was half hanging off the wall due to the weight of the water gushing out of it. The wall itself had turned midnight black with heavy grey clouds and speckled stars. Where the wall met the wooden skirting board and floor had become an active horizon. The cries of seagulls and roaring waves filled the long gallery.
Izzy stepped back, without letting her eyes leave the painting. She could feel her concentration slipping. The water sloshed around and licked at her ankles. She looked at the seagulls and saw them stirring. Their grey wings began flapping and they darted above the waves. Izzy tried calling them to her, but they were the first wild animals she had brought out of a painting and thus didn’t listen.
She tried again and this time the closest bird emerged from the canvas. The seagull flapped angrily around her head. Izzy tried to wave it off but as she did so her skirts tumbled back down. Fumbling after the slippery satin, she heard footsteps on the main staircase.
‘Stop,’ she muttered to herself and the painting.
The seagull squeaked in her ear before turning about and pushing back through the veil Izzy had created between the world of the painting and the world she was in. Dragging in a deep breath of harsh salty air, Izzy commanded the sea back. Obediently the waves obeyed and she watched the water roll back into the painting.
Voices drifted down the corridor, a door opened close by and Izzy’s heartbeat went wild. Forcing herself on, she pushed the sea further back. Water rushed back up the wall, which was slowly turning back to a normal pale pink colour. Izzy’s hands roamed through the air, concentrating the power into placing back the sea and making everything dry again.
She heard the gallery door creak open and realising she had no time to do any more, she fled. Gathering her skirts as she went, Izzy did not spare a glance for any other painting in the long gallery. She reached the other door at last and quietly opened it. Stealing a look over her shoulder, she saw a trail of wet footprints and a dark patch under the painting.
Trying to contain her thoughts and emotions, she bent to the floor and pressed her hand to the cold wood. Her power spiralled out of her finger tips and along the floor, making the footprints and damp patch evaporate. A pair of brown leather boots came into the top corner of her vision. Izzy stood up slowly and slipped through the door. She pulled it too just enough and listened to the voices of the other side.
They were all male and so far hadn’t noticed anything unusual. They were taking about the most recent play they had seen. Izzy could also hear the clinking of glasses and swishing of clothes. Breathing a sigh of relieve, she turned and hurried back to her rooms. Closing the door behind her, she heard footsteps in the corridor she had just come though.
Grabbing a book from the table in front of her, Izzy went to the window seat and sat down. Opening the book, she tried to make it looked like she had been reading for a while. The knock on the door yanked her head up.
‘Come in!’ she called too loudly then bit her lip.
The door swung up and she was half-relieved to see her older brother standing there.
She got up, abandoning the book and walking back to the table, ‘what is it?’ she asked calmly.
With a swift glance around, her brother stepped in and shut the door.
‘You need to be more careful,’ he spoke softly, ‘the guild are not happy. Did it have to be sea water?’
‘I’m sorry,’ Izzy mumbled sliding her hands behind her back, ‘I just wanted to try it.’
‘I know, but you cannot run around using your magic like that. What if something had gone wrong?’ her brother pressed.
‘Nothing has yet,’ she countered back.
Her brother finally moved from the door and to the fireplace. He took the poker and began shuffling the hot coals around. Izzy watched him place some more logs in and the flames come back. Afterwards, he came over and hugged her. Izzy settled into his arms and listened to his whispering voice, ‘it’s all right. I am not angry at you. I will fix things up with the guild. But you have to try and control yourself. You need to learn how to use your powers before you go attempting things like that. Soon enough, you’ll be able to do a lot more then make paintings come alive.’
Thoughts tumbled in her head, but she didn’t voice any of them. Izzy could feel tiredness sinking in. She breathed in the familiar, but slightly salty smell of her brother and heard the ocean’s waves.