Rated: E · Other · Young Adult · #1974781
A magical journey of self discovery of a sixteen year old girl in an unknown world.
Brianna had lived in Portland Oregon her whole life, but this was her favourite time of year. The fluffy multi-coloured blossoms had started opening a few weeks earlier filling the air with their sweet cherry scent, a nostalgic reminder of her childhood. Footsteps silenced by the dew covered grass, allowed her to marvel at the pre-dawn colours dancing on the sparse clouds above her.
Inhaling a deep breath, she tried to steady the images flitting around her head of a solitary life. She had worked her butt off with continuous overtime, sleepless nights and mixing in the right social circles to become one of the youngest females on a top executive board at the tender age of thirty-five. So determined on climbing the corporate ladder, she hadn’t seen the time fly by and it was only with the sudden passing of her mother just a few short months ago, that she took a harsh look at her life.
The tightening in her chest at the mere thought of her beautiful mother made her swallow hard. Blinking away the un-shed tears, she knew on some different level, that it was the wake-up call she had needed. The still fresh emotions rolled around toying between guilt, relief and sorrow at her untimely decision to quit the one thing that had controlled her life for nearly eighteen years. Her resignation had caused one of the biggest uproars in the company, with them even offering extended paid vacation for her to return. Stunned and humbled by the offer, she had turned it down. It had been the hardest yet easiest decision of her life. She knew now, money and success wasn’t everything, it was a hard lesson but one she didn’t regret learning.
A cool, gentle breeze caressed her face and she could almost hear her mother nagging her. “Slow down Bri, Bri. There is always time for other things, but this, this moment right now you are missing. Feel the wind on your face angel, let it lift you up when you feel down. Let it remind you of the true beauty of life.” Sniffing hard she swiped the fresh tears off her face as she paused by the park bench to do her stretches, before setting out on her walk in the gentle quiet of the morning.
An explosive crack and sizzle broke the peaceful silence, sending her hurtling to the ground to take cover. Giving it a full minute for her to check she was all still in one piece, she gingerly lifted her head from underneath the park bench to look around. Everything was cloaked in a strange green light, ignoring the warnings thundering in her ears she crawled around a small cluster of bushes only to dive for cover again as sparks flew randomly off an orb floating in the sky. Abrupt disbelief coursed through her as she watched a small lifeless body, bathed in light float gently to the ground.
Frantically looking around, she couldn't be the only one seeing this? But the park was completely empty, not even the birds were singing. Another crack and sizzle made her jump before she hastily retreated further back into the bushes. Horrified she watched as a tall ghostly form appeared next to the still unconscious child. The sudden realisation that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time had her scooting back one more inch into the bushes.
'Snap'. The echo in the eerie silence made her want to swear in every possible language. The apparition appeared directly in front of her, making her squeak in fear. Too scared to move Brianna squeezed her eyes shut and prayed she would live to not tell the tale. “Sorry. Sorry. Please don’t hurt me.” She begged.
Hugging her knees to her chest, she was surprised by the gentle chiming of clocks filling the air. A warm wind swirled around her, pulling a few tendrils of her curly brown hair loose from where she had secured it earlier in a ponytail. All of a sudden she felt herself unravelling as she was being lifted up. Her eyes flew open to see the ground moving further away from her, she panicked. Flailing her arms and legs she begged, “wait. Wait. I am sorry. I won’t tell anyone. Please! Please!”
The lady in green with very human features raised her eyebrows slightly at Brianna's panic and slowed the ascent. Confused Brianna pulled in deep breaths, she didn't seem like she wanted to hurt her, but where were they going? And Why? Because of what she had seen? Oh damn. Fighting the nausea she asked “Where are you taking me? Why? I swear no one has to know. Please take me back.” Again she was ignored. Fear and annoyance thrumming through her veins, she tried to figure out how to get out of this but there just wasn't a way. As much as she hated to admit it, this was something magical, and she was completely out of her depth.
A flash of gold blinded her for a moment before it was replaced with a bright blue light. Sucking in a shaky breath, she relieved to still be alive and not moving. Wait she wasn't moving and there was solid ground beneath her feet. Had they arrived? Where? A enigmatic ice blue sky held two full, transparent moons partially hidden by scattered silver clouds. The heat of the sun gentle on the skin, reflected the light onto huge gold and crystal rock formations, that made up the lay of the land. Mesmerized by each unique formation; from bottomless, cascading waterfalls to rich, forest foliage, Brianna was convinced she had died and gone to heaven. The uninhibited beauty was nothing she had ever seen at home. A movement to her side, reminded her of the lady in green. Determined to find out what was going on she turned to come face to face with a scaly face.
Squealing she jumped back, it was a dinosaur. No wait, it couldn't be. Struggling to believe what she was seeing, she looked around again, there were more of them. All different in size and colour. Dragons! The same dragon she had just jumped away from, came closer again, forcing herself to stand still, it sniffed her like a dog would, before spreading its wings and lifting into the sky.
The lady in green approached Brianna, well, she thought it was the lady in green. “But you?” Brianna whispered. The green woman was now beautifully cream coloured with hair and eyes similar shades to her own. Smiling slightly she waved her hands and Brianna felt the warm embrace lifting her off the ground again. Slowly rotating in the air, she could feel but not see many, many pairs of eyes on her.
Brianna, fought the panic squeezing chest as she tried not to squirm under the scrutiny. The woman with long flowing hair appeared next to her, and thrust out her arm. Cringing, terrified of what was about to happen, Brianna waited. After a minute of nothing, she eyed the woman who was still floating with her arm extended. Hesitantly Brianna offered her hand. A beautiful white gold crystal chain dropped into it and as she closed her hand into a fist she fell. Screaming she halted just above the ground for a second before landing ungracefully with a thud. Realising she was back in the park she scurried back to her hiding place in the bushes. Tense for a second she waited for something else to happen. Nothing. Shuddering, she sank back against the branches, pushing her hair out her eyes with a shaking hand.
This morning was not going according to plan, Brianna thought as she eyed the ball of light still hovering above the girl on the ground. Rolling the chain in her hand she saw the engraving of a name and date. ‘Tierra Sarah Bingolf. 17 July 1998’ on the beautiful crystal fairy. Now what did she do?
It was answered for her, as she flinched with the pop of an envelope being shot out of the ball, landing just a few feet in front of her. Suddenly various shades of green lit up the sky and exploded with a tiny bang, showering her and the girl in green and silver sparkles.
It would have been pretty, if the feeling of doom hadn’t washed over her. Forcing her jelly legs to the where the letter had landed, she felt numb as she stared at her name in glowing gold lettering. The girl groaned, again making her jump. Sheesh, her nerves were strung so tight she thought she might actually have a heart attack.
Hesitantly she retrieved the envelope, surprised by the weight and heat of it. Curiosity had her breaking the wax seal and carefully removing the paper. It was blank. Exhaling the breath she didn’t even know she was holding, she saw a spark shoot off the paper and hit the inside of her wrist. Knee-jerk reaction had her throwing it back on the ground whilst holding her wrist. Shock rendered her speechless as words burned into the paper one at a time.
‘A Protector you have become. Your most valued possession is our most precious treasure. Tierra. Keep her hidden. Keep her safe. We will return for her.”
The sudden stinging heat on her wrist made her curse out loud, rubbing it frantically she blinked twice as she watched a thin green white light, burn a Celtic Dragon tattoo onto the sensitive skin. She hated tattoos, the fear turned into anger. Just who in the heck did these people think they were? Who gave them permission to mark her, because that sure as hell was exactly what it felt like they had done. Also who were they to make her ‘protector’ of this small white haired child?
A waft of smoke tickled her nose, looking for the fire, she realised as her heart fell into feet, the fumes had come from the unconscious girl. Oh man. She should just drop the chain and run. Run away and pretend this never happened. She had almost convinced herself to do just that, when the girl moaned again. Dropping to her hands and knees, battling the panic and indecision pulsing through her, she knew in her heart of hearts she couldn't do it. She couldn't leave the poor girl in burnt clothing here. Alone.
The bustle and rustle of the birds starting to sing and the park slowly coming back to life made Brianna realise her time was up. Gently lifting the hair off the girl’s pretty face, she squirmed as a blaze of heat ran up her spine through her pulsing tattoo and sent a flash of green light to the girl. An amazing sense of calm washed over her. There was no running away now she realised, as she fought the overwhelming urge to protect this child. No, no running away, not without Tierra.
IN THE BEGINNING
“What are you not telling me?” Becky questioned Tierra, refusing to move out of her way.
“Nothing, just…” Almost too scared to say the words in case she in some form or manner encouraged the decent of turmoil on herself. Shaking her head as an end to the conversation, she squeezed her heavily made up brown eyes shut and she forced herself to breathe.
The kids streaming into the corridors at the sound of the school bell, thankfully did not make for easy conversation with Becky. Not normally claustrophobic Tierra couldn't help but feel the urgent almost desperate need to escape. Battered from side to side in the crowded hallway and deafened by loud shouts of conversation as kids everywhere discussed their plans for the upcoming weekend. Of course she was not included in any of them. She was an outcast, 'the girl who hid her white hair.' Yes she did hide it, under mutinous colours of navy blue and black hair dye.
“Tierra, you are acting weird. Okay, more weird than normal,” Becky said, bringing Tierra back to the present as the overwhelming urge to run stampeded through her veins.
“Becky, I will call you later. I really need to go.”
Green eyes down cast, clear with disappointment muttered. “Okay. If you really must go.”
Tierra stepped past Becky, just as a spark of something leapt between them. Shocked she jumped back and stared. Confused at Becky's non-reaction she said nothing and watched as Becky ambled down the crowded hall oblivious not only to her but also to the stares of the others she passed.
She didn’t like pushing her friend away, but this urgency she had felt for the last hour had pushed her to the point of desperation, but as she hurried towards the door, she found her distant path blocked. Three shadows consumed the double door space and Tierra grabbed for the wall as her knees went weak. “Anita,” she whispered.
Disappear, was all she kept thinking as she pulled the hood of her jacket up over her head and crouched down to re-tie her perfectly tied shoelace. Flicking a quick glance in their direction, Anita’s eyes forcefully held hers. The smirk that lit up her face as they sauntered in her direction, turned into a full faced grin as she openly relished in the fearful anticipation Tierra showed.
There was an abrupt parting in the crowds as the whisper that she was the target became louder. It became almost like a show down in a western movie, except Tierra knew she was completely outgunned. Cowards, she thought as she glanced around at the nervous crowd. Forcing herself off the wall to face her biggest enemy, her overactive imagination started to see colours coming off Anita, mostly blues and greys. Focus Tierra, she scolded herself with a shake of her head.
“Tierra, Tierra, Tierra. It has been a little too long, don’t you think?” Anita drawled, showing too much of her almond skin in her hand hacked denim shorts and luminous yellow strap top.
“A….Anita” Tierra managed. She had to concentrate; just maybe she could talk her way out of this one. Think!
“Who are you hiding from Tierra?” Christine questioned. Her petite build did nothing to hide the grey pallor of her skin. Her hip bones jutted out over her low-waisted black jeans and the same black colour hung in the bags under her eyes making her look permanently ill.
Ignoring the question, Tierra glanced around. She had to find an escape route. Three against one, wasn't great odds. There wasn’t one. Dammit. It seemed like the entire school had gathered in the hallway to watch the fight. There were kids with arms in the air trying to film the showdown with their cell-phones; no doubt to put onto YouTube later. Reprobates! Tierra screamed at them in her head.
As if reading her mind, Anita stepped into her line of sight, “Oh no, no, no, honey. You are not going to be able to run away this time.”
“What do you want Anita?” Tierra blurted out.
“Oh, there is plenty I want. But let me see……how about you fix my broken fingernail?”she whined.
Tierra flicked a gaze at her, but avoided eye contact. “You know I can’t do that.”
Feeling Anita’s unnatural blue eyes land on her, she was sure she felt a chill slither down her spine. “Well then, we will have to come up with something better.”
“Come on Anita. I am not looking for trouble,” Tierra pleaded.
“Well, I am. I have been watching you. What are you? A witch?” She taunted.
“I don’t know what you are talking about!”
Damn, Damn, Damn. She had hoped Anita would not remember. It was a long shot, but she had been hopeful since it had not been mentioned since. Damn. She thought again, recalling how she had ‘accidently’ fallen down the stairs at the football game that Becky had insisted she go to. She had not wanted to be there and because of the fall she broke her ankle badly enough that her foot had been facing the opposite direction to her leg.
Frantic with the pain and embarrassment she had quickly pulled it straight all the while trying to hide the pain of the stinging white heat that had engulfed her leg. Standing up quickly she had manage to convince everyone it was only a sprain and limped away with the excuse of finding the school’s first aid room. She had guessed however that Anita not only caused the accident but witnessed her body fix itself. Damn again.
“I want to know what your special powers are. Tell me, actually tell everyone here. I saw you, I saw what happened. I knew you were a freak! Tell them or……….”
“Tell them what? I honestly don’t know what you are talking about,” Tierra said, desperately trying to create confusion.
Circling Tierra like a vulture with their dying prey, Anita waited. “Tierra, Tierra, Tierra…You disappoint us,” came the third person’s voice. It was high pitched, whiney and grated so badly on her already stretched nerves that she flinched.
“Now, now Lucy let’s not be completely mean,” Anita said, surprisingly coming to Tierra’s aid. “Give her a chance to explain the little event from last week.”
Tierra could feel something pushing and pulling at her and it was making her feel winded and her knees weak. This wasn’t normal, couldn’t be normal and she was absolutely convinced these girls were not normal sixteen year olds either.
Shaking her head, she forced the lie out again “I really don’t know what you are talking about.”
Anita’s eyes flashed with anger as she snatched Tierra’s backpack. Throwing it at Lucy and Christine; she used unnatural speed with some manoeuvre which landed Tierra face down on the dirty, olive green tiles.
“Let’s get something straight here Tierra,” She spat into Tierra’s ear. “You may think you are special and a cut above the rest of us, but there is so much you should be scared of. You are alone and that is what makes it all so easy. You are a weak, pathetic excuse of a human being. Now, repeat after me……… I am pathetic….”
Feeling the heat of Anita’s body pushing hers into the horrible tiles, Tierra whispered, “I am pathetic…”
“I am weak….”
With a small sniffle, “I am weak…..”
“I am a waste of human flesh…..”
A sharp pain between her shoulder blades made her realise Anita was actually armed with a weapon. “Say it…” she growled, pushing harder and deeper.
“I am a waste of human flesh…..”
“Good. Now where is it?”
“Anita…. Please…” Tierra cried.
“Don't be stupid Tierra…..Where is it?”
What was Anita talking about? Struggling again she was forced still as the pain returned between her shoulder blades.
“Oooh….Looky what I found,” Christine sang sweetly evil, causing all eyes to move away from the action on the floor to her as she dramatically pulled the book out of the backpack.
Shoving Tierra further into the floor for a second, Anita pounced on the book Christine was holding out. Tierra caught a quick glimpse of the book. Her heart shattered. Her Diary. God, she thought she had left it at home. Was that what she wanted? Desperate to get to her feet, Tierra pushed up off the ground, only to find her face back in the disgusting tiles.
No, no, no, no; Tierra thought with a sob, slapping her hand on the floor. There was too much of herself bared naked in that book. No one had ever even known about it, let alone been allowed to read it. Finding strength she didn’t know she had; she pushed Anita’s boot off her and scrambled to her feet. Breathing hard at the effort, she forced herself upright.
“Give me back my book, Anita.”
“The latest entry into this remarkable diary of Tierra Sarah Bingolf, says: Got home from school today, I saw him…. He is so cute…..”
“Anita! Please…” Tierra begged, lunging for the book, trying to save herself some embarrassment.
“Uh uh, no, no. Didn’t your parents ever teach you that it was bad manners to snatch?” Anita said neatly side stepping Tierra’s clumsy attempt.
Generously proportioned Lucy suddenly appeared behind Tierra knocking her to her knees, before tightly wrapping her chubby hands around Tierra’s hair forcing her into silence.
“As I was saying; got home from school today, I saw him. He is so cute; he even looked straight at me today. His eyes are so blue they look like calm waters of a crystal clear lagoon. I could swim in them forever. Maybe, just maybe I will see him tomorrow again.” Sighing dramatically, Anita looked at Tierra. Green eyes to brown eyes.
“He sounds dreamy, I am sure we all want to know who he is.”
Tierra refused to answer, cheeks red with embarrassment at the sappy piece she had written yesterday.
“Come now honey. There are only a few guys here like that. Who could it possibly be?”
Tierra closed her eyes in the tense silence refusing to cry.
“It isn’t……………… Kyle?”
The slight flinch at his name, was all the reaction Anita needed to confirm her assumption correct.
Showing her crooked teeth for the first time that day, she grinned pure evil. “Oh, it is Kyle, you sly devil you.” Then she laughed. “Sorry sweetheart, but he wouldn’t even give you a second glance.” The rest of the kids started to laugh and chatter a bit.
“Please just give me my book back,” Tierra pleaded desperately, pushing at Lucy`s hands holding her head.
“Give it back to her Anita,” the deep voice said, causing a hush in the crowd.
Tierra watched Anita freeze, and scan the crowd of onlookers for the origin of the voice. Tierra couldn’t place the voice, but the way Anita shuffled she seemed to be uncomfortable with the person she had seen.
“Aww, Kyle, why do you have to come and spoil my fun. I was just getting started,” Anita said fluttering her eyelashes at him.
“I don’t like your idea of fun, now let her up and give her back her book,” Kyle said again.
Tierra looked at Kyle, his mouth thin with determination and there was something dark and dangerous emitting off him. Again; Tierra had flickering of colour, mostly a grey blue equal to that of turbulent ocean waters. Anita must have felt it, because she took a step back and flicked a nervous glance to Christine and Lucy, who were both now agitating.
“Anita.” One word, but the depth of the threat was clearly audient. The whole hallway froze.
Anita hesitated a second longer before briskly nodding her head at Christine and Lucy, who left Tierra and backed away quickly.
“The book, please,” Tierra whispered.
One last glance at the book in her hands, Anita tossed it at Kyle’s feet and turned and walked away laughing.
The crowd remained silent for a few seconds before quickly scattering. Kneeling on the floor she gathered the contents of her bag that were strewn on the floor. She tried hard not to cry. That had been intense; Anita never attacked anyone in public. Why was it different today? What was going on? Why did she want her diary?
“Tierra,” Kyle called her gently.
Keeping her eyes downward, she turned to Kyle. “Thank you...uh. Thank you for helping me,” she said quietly.
Feeling his hand on her chin, he lifted her gaze to his. His eyes really were beautifully blue she thought as her heart slammed against her ribs. He was so close and starring into her eyes. She really thought he was going to kiss her here, in front of anyone who cared to watch. Excitement flew up her spine. She wanted him to kiss her, part of her knew it would be for the wrong reason, but she didn’t care. The overwhelming urge to be kissed swiftly washed away any logical thoughts. Half closing her eyes in anticipation of him closing the final two centimetres to her lips, she waited, almost too scared to breathe.
“No, not here and not now,” Kyle whispered to her.
It took a few milliseconds for the words to penetrate her excited haze of emotion and as he moved away from her, “You should go.”
Her heart squeezed in pain. She was more embarrassed now than when Anita had told everyone about her liking Kyle. Now Kyle had just proven to everyone including her that it was exactly the way Anita had said it was. Sucking in a sob at the cruel way he had just lead her on only to make her look more like a fool than Anita had done; she grabbed the book out of his hands and bolted for the door.
Ignoring him she kept running. Her head down so no one would see the tears running down her cheeks. “Oompff,” she muttered, realising from her sudden sprawled position on the ground that she had just run straight into somebody, since she was face to face with his knees.
“Are you alright, love?” he asked bending over, tipping his hat and wiggling his eyebrows at her.
“Ah, ah yes, I am not hurt or anything. You?”
“Nah, I am as fit as a fiddle, just a bit lost is all.” he said, confusion showing in his brown eyes.
Running her eyes over him; his face was unshaven, had wild brown hair that stuck out beneath his hat and the overcoat he was wearing did a good job of hiding his slim build. As tall as he was, she also knew from the new bruises she was developing, he was a solid man. If she was to hazard a guess to his age, she would say around late thirties.
“Are you intending to sit there all day?”
Ignoring the offered hand, she scrabbled to her feet while dusting herself off and muttering under her breath.
“Are you looking for somewhere specific? I know this area pretty well, maybe I can help?” Tierra quickly regretted her offer, this man could be anyone. A murderer, rapist, thief or if she stopped thinking the worst maybe he was just a nice guy. Sucking in a sigh at her confusion, she decided her day had been terrible so far, what more could go wrong?
“I don’t know. I can’t remember what or who I was looking for.” He said with a frown. “Man I hate travelnesia. Must mean the stupid teleportation device is conking out again. ”
Tierra stood in silence not sure what to make of the strange comments. Laughing at her confused expression he said, “Don’t worry love, we are all as crazy as each other. Thank you for the offer by the way, but I think I am just going to find a restaurant for some food. I had little bit of a heavy night last night…. if you know what I mean….”
Unwillingly to let this intriguing man walk away from her just yet, she quickly answered. “There is a restaurant close to the park I know. I could show you the way. Only if I won’t be an imposition…”
“Thanks Love…but I….” a loud grumble from his belly interrupted his sentence causing Tierra to giggle and him to laugh.
“Actually I think, maybe that would be a great idea, my stomach has got my backbone hostage and is demanding ransom.”
Still smiling Tierra said, “Follow me.”
“Wait love, I didn’t get your name?”
“Well Tierra, lovely to meet you. My name is Damenco.” He said shaking her hand.
Tierra felt a bolt of something shoot up her arm and saw his eyes suddenly light up and hold hers. She could see he had just remembered where he was, why he was there and for some reason it felt like he knew who she was.