met in the fields behind Samantha's family farm. We had done so for
months now, because we knew it was safe. We would meet there every
Sunday after Sam got away from lunch after church and we would talk.
Talk about the big things and the small things, the important and the
mundane, secrets and events from our daily lives. It was my place to
escape from being Lord Fieldswick's daughter, and to be just Esme.
I told Sam everything: my anger, my depression, my fear... But there
was one thing I could never tell Sam, I could never tell her I was
the leader of the Resistance or her family would split us up more
than they already had. We wouldn't be able to meet in the fields,
that was for sure. Stupid family politics... Our generation shouldn't
have to make up for the mistakes of the past. There was another thing
I couldn't tell Sam (why am I keeping so much from her? She doesn't
deserve it) and her family doesn't come into it. I love her. I really
do. And loving a girl presents a whole new set of problems, let me
tell you. You begin to doubt whether you actually love her (because
come on, she's a girl!) and your stupid brain, which is convinced
you're straight, turns against you. If you do manage to defeat your
inner straight demons, you dont even know if she's gay, let alone if
she likes you! And what would her family say? It's better to be
straight in my opinion, but you can't change what you are. Samantha
arrived, and my heart sped up like a motor.
was beautiful, with thick, wavy, corn blonde hair (with a yellow
streak obviously), rosy cheeks and ocean blue eyes. Her hair fell in
a perfect parting and flowed down her back, her eyes sparkled when
she was happy, her mouth- shit, I've thought too much about this.
are you this week? Any more nightmares?" she joked, elbowing me
softly in the ribs.
usual," I said quietly.
she said, and her face fell. "didn't you ask your dad for that
spell I heard Gwen talking about?" Gwen was Sam's older sister
who was on the MEB (Magical Enforcement Board) so she heard a lot of
news about my dad, not all good.
did, but he told me that I shouldn't know anything about it. He's
quite mad at me, actually."
I'm sorry!" Sam said and wrapped her arms around me. I was glad
Sam's head was on my shoulder for a number of reasons; if she saw me
going bright red with my nervous eye tic going haywire, she'd think I
was weirder than she already thinks I am. She held me there for a few
seconds (I could feel her heart beating) and then she let go,
shuffled next to me and slipped her arm around my shoulders. By then
my face had gone from magenta to a more reasonable shade.
did he do to you?" she whispered as if fearing the answer.
magic for a week-"
know, it's been torture doing things by hand, and I'm not allowed out
told them I was going to church. They didn't mind that, thank magic,
but they made me bring Christopher to be with his friends. I bribed
him with sweets, and if I know Chris he'll keep it to himself."
I smirked. I was proud of this plan, there wasn't any room for
mistakes. "I put in a strand of my hair- the streak, obviously-
in the bag, so he couldn't snitch even if he wanted to." I saw
by the look on Sam's face that I had gone too far. Her eyes (cobalt
blue, and oh so beautiful!) were opened wide and her mouth (opened
slightly, I could've kissed her right there and then) formed an 'o'
You..." I felt the grin slide off my face. Taking a strand of
your streak not only considerably weakened your magic but made the
person who touched it obey you until you set them free. (hence why
magical people don't have hairdressers). It's one of the cruellest
forms of magic, and I knew it was a waste to use it on Christopher.
He didn't even know I'd possessed him, poor thing, and the look on
his face when he'd try to tell my dad what I'd done- I couldn't bear
to think about it. "I'm sorry... I-"
I don't want your puny excuses. If you do this kind of thing now,
what person will you become, Esmerelda Fieldswick?" Nobody ever
used my full name, not even at home, so that came like a slap to the
face. Sam got up and started walking towards the farm.
wait-" I grabbed her arm. My inner straight demons were hissing
and clawing at my stomach, and I knew that I was going to kiss her.
Kiss her, or she would never talk to me again. kiss her, to make up
for all the times I'd kissed her in my head, all that and more. I was
going to kiss her, And I dont fucking care if she's not going to kiss
she said firmly. She snatched her arm back. "Take the curse off
of him!" I twirled my blue streak in my fingers without
realizing it, then closed my eyes and concentrated. I felt the magic
shooting from the roots of my hair to the tips of my fingers and
toes, going through every vein and cell, in the blood and the bone. I
tilted my head back and snapped my eyes open. There was a grey tint
around everything, as though the world had been drained of colour.
This was new. Maybe from touching my hair...? I didn't know. I looked
to Sam- and gasped at what I saw. She was bloodless, with a thick
black oily liquid running from her eyes. She was all in ghostly white
and treacherous black, apart from her yellow streak, which glowed so
bright it hurt to look at it. Sam was saying something to me, but I
couldn't hear. All I could hear was a deafening roar, growing louder
with each breath I took- and then I remembered Chris. I pictured his
face, a streak of orange in his black hair, always smiling with a
face full of freckles- and then I was there, at the church.
Everywhere I looked, in all the pews, there were ghost-like white
figures, with black pouring from their eyes as if they were weeping,
some with clinging colours of hairstreaks, others, the non-magical
people, just a faint aura. Then I saw a flash of orange. There was
Chris- or the ghost of him. I saw the bag of sweets he was holding-
and saw something shining through the bag, electric blue and pulsing
with magic, I saw ghost-Chris reach for a sweet from the bag-
I yelled. Chris froze, his half halfway to the bag. I looked around
and saw that everyone else had stopped moving as well. I waved my
hand in front of Chris's face. He didn't move. Had I just stopped
on the task at hand, I reached into the bag and pulled out the hair.
It flickered in my hand for a few seconds, then the colour died and
it went black like everything in this monochrome world.
Carry on, please?" Chris shivered, then popped a sweet in his
mouth. I thought of Sam, and I was back in the field, with Sam
shaking my shoulders, tears in her eyes.
she was shouting, and a tiny part of me wondered if Sam's parents
could hear this. "Esme, please wake up! Please!"
Esme... Your eyes..." I touched my eyes and felt what I thought
was tears running down my face but when I looked at my fingers, the
black liquid was in my eyes! I was one of the ghosts! Then I looked
up at sam. I saw her magic, sensed it, felt it, pouring out of her in
great waves. She was so full of magic, so alive-
and I was cold, dead, empty.
tried to rub the black liquid out and my eyes and off my face, but it
kept coming, blurring my field of vision, nearly blinding me. I
opened my mouth to sob, but the black liquid poured into my open
mouth and down my throat. It tasted bitter, like salt and regrets.
The black tears filled my eyes, and I felt my consciousness slip away
as I fell into the black hole of my mind.
looked like a ghost, and I didn't know what I could do. She was
shaking, and from her eyes came ghastly black liquid. I had never
seen her- or anyone for that matter- like this before.
can I do anything to help?" Esme sat bolt upright, but when she
spoke, her voice was not her own.
child... this is not your battle, but hers. She must fight her
demons, or they will overtake her! You must not intervene!"
I need my friend back!"
you interfere, the consequences could be worse than you could
or whoever was possessing Esme, sighed.
but don't say I didn't warn you."
was still in the field, but the colour was gone. I brushed against a
plant, and it disintegrated at my touch. Everything in this world was
dead or dying. Was this what went on in Esme's head all
the time? Then
I heard shouting, and gunshots.
ducked, then looked around to see who shouted. It was a soldier, a
soldier who was almost gone. He wore a torn olive green uniform,
stained with blood and dirt, and his right arm was bleeding.
at least I managed to save someone,"
he said, more to himself than to anyone else. I saw him- saw his
injured arm hold a gun, and- and bring it to his head, and- and with
his hand shaking, eyes squeezed shut as he- he pulled the trigger,
and fell to the ground.
ran to him, but before I got there, he was already disintegrating
like everything else in this world. He closed his eyes as if he was
relieved by the pain, and faded into dust that blew into my face. It
scratched into my eyes, making them water. I felt my tears run down
my cheek and hit the ground I walked on, looking for Esme... I almost
walked into a hole. I screeched and jumped back. I looked around. The
holes were everywhere, gnawing at the earth, consuming everything in
sight. Some were small, others enormous, stretching out towards the
horizon. I tried to navigate between the holes, spreading my arms out
wide like an acrobat, breathing in sharply every time I wobbled or
lost my footing... And then the holes caught up with me. The ground
beneath me crumbled. My legs flailed wildly; I looked for a handhold
to grab onto but there were none, I screamed as the sky above me
became smaller, smaller, smaller until it was barely there at all. I
felt the wind whistling in my ears and I heard a rushing sound and
looked down- and then I hit the water. This was no ordinary water,
this was the black liquid, the tears Esme was crying- and I sank like
was in my mouth, my eyes, my nose, my lungs, suffocating me, dragging
me down- but I didn't fight back. What was the point? I could never
win, never win anything, never roll any sixes in this horrible game
called Life. Why resist? sooner or later the graveyards are filled
with everybody. I was going to die, and all for nothing...
do it for Esme. Everything for Esme. More than she could ever know.
More than she could understand. In a different way than she would
ever consider. I needed her to be alright, or I could never live with
myself. I kicked my legs and pushed myself upwards, though my
depression weighed me down. My head broke the surface of the water
and I gasped for air. Over the roar of the dark waves, I heard
someone crying. A low sob of despair, like that of a child. It shook
me to the very bone. Could it be Esme? But Esme would never cry...
Who else could it be? It had to be Esme. I followed the sound, moving
much better now that I had a goal.
finally reached an underground shore. It was as black as pitch. I
tried to follow the sound of the crying, but it was growing faint. I
saw the entrance to some caves off from the shore, and somehow the
inside of those caves looked darker than it already was. I walked
into the first cave, but it was a dead end a few feet in. I turned
back to the shore- but the entrance was gone. I spun around, looking
for a way out, and saw a smaller cave to the left. I crouched down
and walked in. I had been going for a few minutes when the tunnel
opened up into an enormous cavern, with hundreds
tunnels and pathways. How was I going to find Esme in all this? Her
voice sounded loudest in a tunnel a bit smaller than I was. I bent my
knees slightly and walked in. It was cramped. No, cramped was an
understatement. Every few feet the tunnel shrink slightly, like a
funnel, so after a few minutes, I was nearly on my stomach. I felt
trapped. What if this wasn't the right way at all? what if I couldn't
get out? How would I find Esme? Could I still hear her now? I
checked. I could hear her, but her voice was hardly there at all. I
began to panic, and my breath came out short and sharp. Was this how
I was going to die? Alone, in a cave, dead of starvation? I cried
out. the sobbing stopped.
heard Esme calling me, and my breathing flowed easier.
clambered forwards to her voice, just a few more feet... The tunnel
opened up into another cavern and there, huddled in a corner, was
Esme. She was curled up in a fetal position, legs drawn into her
stomach, arms around her legs, head in her lap, letting out great
shuddering sobs. They broke my heart a little, each one.
away from me!"
streak of blue fire circled Esme like a barrier. It stung my fingers,
and they were so cold they burned. I shrieked and jumped back,
sucking my fingers, but the flames died as suddenly as they had come.
Stay away... Don't hurt me... Please!"
flailed wildly, as if fighting off invisible enemies.
it's me, Sam," I said. "I'm not going to hurt you."
had done something this bad to Esme that she was acting like this?
Whoever it was, I would find them and make them answer to what they
Sam- this place- it'll kill you! Get away!"
is this? Is this your mind?"
The things I saw... No! Don't hurt me! Please!" she begged,
"Don't hurt her!"
was twitching violently, jerking and lashing out at empty space. I
held her hands to calm her down but she kicked her legs and gnashed
her teeth, not giving up the internal fight.
please... Let me help you. What can I do?"
was happening to Esme. She was still there, but she was... changing.
flashed and flickered and faded before my eyes. And she was glowing.
Not much at first, but then brighter, brighter, the most brilliant
white light so blinding I had to cover my eyes- and then two figures
walked out of the light. One of them was Esme, but larger than light
and beautiful, a version of Esme without any flaws. The other figure
had wavy blonde hair flowing down her back, with a dimple in one
cheek- is that me?
I gaped at the two of us- the two of them
they walked towards the real Esme, bending down and whispering to her
with malicious grins. The one who looked like me was holding Esme's
trembling chin in her hands and saying:
Why would I ever love you?"
Don't..." she stuttered but the other Esme put her hands on the
real Esme's shoulders
on Esme, you know that nobody takes you seriously," she crooned,
while the other me nodded and started pacing around the cave. "Alyssa
and Theo don't care about anyone but each other, and your father..."
she sucked in air through her teeth, "well, enough said about
other me bent down to Esme and put her hand on her chest.
will never love you."
will always love me.
screamed and punched the other me in the chest. The other me gasped
and exploded into dust that blew away. The other Esme ran to the dust
of her partner, but I was behind her and struck her in the back and
she burst into dust. The walls began to tremble and I wrapped my arms
around Esme to shield her from the collapse, saving another's life
before my own, like the soldier, being there for Esme like I always
would be, until the end. As the walls of the cave came crashing down,
the black sea broke through and engulfed us both.
were back, back in the field. I hoped I didn't look like a ghost now.
kissed her. I kissed her, putting every doubt I'd ever had, every
kiss I'd ever given her in my head, every gay thought that had ever
crossed my mind, into that kiss.
on, sam. Push me away, slap my face, tell me to stop- because nothing
in the world could stop me kissing you right now except for you. I'd
do anything for you.
you didn't stop, Sam. You took the back of my neck and pushed your
mouth against mine. I could feel your heartbeat in my throat, your
breath, your hand on my neck and your other hand on my back, your
mouth, soft and open against mine, everything. I just sat back and
let you kiss me, and kiss me again. My mouth, my neck, my cheeks, my
nose, and I kissed you back and you laughed.