VIEWS: 25 PAGES: 20 POSTED ON: 8/13/2011
XXXXX (Unnamed) written by Adelynn Khoo March 5, 2011 Preface ××× Nothing. Nothing but the darkness. As if I was thrown into a lightless, starless, space, there is a bottomless pit of black below and a never-ending sky of obscurity above. I’m lost in this lightless space with no sense of direction; no up, no down, no right or left, lurking about in this shadow less void, all alone. I am disoriented, bewildered, lost. It hurts. Everything hurts; my arms, my legs, my back, my head. I want it to stop. My body feels like a cage. It’s squeezing me slowly and painfully. I need an escape. I want to run; I want to run far far away from this body. Yet, I cannot move. I feel stiff as a statue, floating about in this darkness. I’m trapped. I breathe slowly and deeply; in and out and in and out. It’s my last option to break free. My last chance to free my mind. In and out and in and out. Gradually, a warm comfort engulfs me with every breath I take. It’s soothing, fluffy, warm, and sweet. Though, it also makes my want to cry, a very lonely safe sensation. It’s a security without worries, thoughts, or me. This oblivion is where I belong and it is my home. Questions do not matter anymore. I don’t need to know where I am, who I am, or what I am. This absence is a peacefulness that I cannot acquire anywhere else... Hm…what is this? A murmur and a whisper, so slight, yet it seems to hum throughout the space and rings at my essence. The source? I don’t know, everywhere and nowhere. A continuous inexhaustible whirring, forcefully flowing into the nonexistence. I feel it. A compelling sound that drives my soul and disrupts the atmosphere, causing my comfort to be only ephemeral. I’m afraid. The whirring is terrifying. It drags me back, reminds me of my imprisoned existence, and petrifies even my soul and mind, not merely my body. It is a whisper of a murderer, searching for a fleeing child. A child that only knows to run and hide; me…A game of hide and seek that will end with my death. Again, I am trapped. The nothingness is no longer mine, but the home of the incessant humming that haunts me. ××× Sensation – Noun. The awareness of stimuli through the senses. I wake up to find myself once again, in the darkness. I assume it is the same from before, but is shocked at the sight of my surroundings. Where am I? There are streams of sick silky light flowing throughout the air, reflecting off the terrain of plants and grass and mud. There is a languid haze of mauve flowing about me. It appears to rise from the ground. Confused, I slowly rise to my feet and look around, searching for something. I don‟t know what but, I didn‟t find it. My body hurts and everything feels stiff. The aches and stiffness felt like they were either caused from days of over-working or days of immobility. I refrain from moving about and continue standing there, dazed. All around, I see fog, shadows, and obscure plants. Time was creeping slowly, accompanying me in the lethargic shades of off-white, grey, black, and amethyst. I continue my spectacle upwards but my eyes begin to sting and I finally notice the drops of condensation assaulting my face and my body. I look down, closing my eyes tightly and attempting to stop the soft tingling pain. After they begin to feel better, I open them again and realize I am sinking deeper into the big patch of mud below me. Fear envelopes my body with its chilling bleach white arms and seems to pull me into the muddy abyss. My heartbeat quickens in alarm and I struggle to escape, but the mud is like glue. My right ankle feels sprained and my left arm doesn‟t feel normal either, so I try not to use it. It takes me more time than I had hoped, but I manage to get on solid ground. I stumble forward, away from the dirt and into the vegetation. My heavy feet trips on the rough terrain of weeds and I fall. My arms reflexively try to break my fall, but just lifting my left arm brought forth an electrifying pain. As my left arm hit the ground, I let out a deafening cry. Tears fill my eyes and I retreat into a sideways fetus position, groaning and whimpering. It was a more distinguished pain than the aches of my body. My left forearm is broken... I continue watching the rain fall upon the ground and its plants in my curled position even after the pain resided into a soft sting. Who am I, where am I, and why am I here? I don‟t remember anything and I don‟t want to move. I lie there for a while as the rain annoyingly splashed mud all over me. I don‟t know what to do. It‟s dark and cold and my body hurts. My mind is blank. After I am finished overcoming my hopeless thoughts, I finally decide to move. Making sure not to move my left arm, I slowly get up on my feet and stagger forward, towards the unknown. The world around me is hard to make out due to the fog, the rain, and the dark. The droplets harass my eyes, leaving everything blurry. I can tell that it‟s not just the rain that‟s making my sight blurry. My face feels warm and my mouth feels clammy with saliva. I‟m scared and I want to stay still again, but my body stumbles ahead all on it own, like something else is controlling it. I step on loose ground and inevitably slide downhill. Fear runs its boney fingers down my spine and my arms instinctively reach for something to hold me from falling. I feel the agonizing pain from my left arm shudder through my body. Electrified by the shock of my arm, I am immobilized. Bam! And the darkness… ××× The humming fills my senses. I want to run away. Nevertheless, there is nowhere to go. There is only darkness; nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Horrified, I try to block everything out. I curl up like I usually do when I’m lost, and I hope for everything to stop. I know what the noise wanted and I know how to stop it. Except, the problem is me... I can’t fight it, so I can’t do anything else but hide and listen. It is an intruding whirr. A minute of listening is torture for a thousand years... It is as horrid as the screeching of nails on a chalkboard. No, it is worse. Like that of sizzling, made as hot metal smolders flesh. The sizzling of melting metal in a deteriorating cage slowly dripping and burning the imprisoned bird as it desperately chirped and chirped to be released back to the sky. Torture. All the same; they were horribly distressing. The whirring was the sound of— ××× A heavy weight presses against my chest and abdomen, restricting my breathing. Something is on top of me. My eyes feel stubborn, raw, and tired. I cried too much. Though, I manage to open them enough to catch a glimpse of silver before they obstinately close. The pressure on my upper body lifts. A gray rabbit? Or some kind of small animal that decided I was comfortable enough as a bed... Forcing my eyes wide-open, I try to sit up but fail. My body still feels weak. My back falls against the hard ground and my eyes are blinded by the light. I regain my vision to a stunning sky of beautiful radiance. It is as breath-taking as the weight was on my chest. The scene is much like a sunset, but twice as gorgeous with a blend of all colors in streaks and twirls and yellow sparkles. Stars… It resembles more of a painting rather than the sky. But, who’s painting? I quickly sit up to find the most unusual creature before me. A silver-grey feline with majestic white wings lay on its stomach, facing me. I jerk away in surprise and fear and consequently, pain shot from my right forearm to the rest of my body. “Urgh…” I groan. I was so absorbed in examining my forearm that I did not see it approaching me. It starts grazing at a pile of purple leaves a few feet away from me and suddenly spit the purple goop right in front of my legs. I let out a sound of disgust. What is that? The feline looks at me with its bright violet eyes that seemed to peer into my very soul and mind. Someone near me demanded, Put the paste on the wound. Startled, I look around, searching for the source of the melodious voice. Someone that can help me out of this situation. I see no one and believe it was part of my imagination. I‟ve been driven mad by my nightmares, aches, and the pain from my fractured forearm. My attention is again on the animal. A way to distract it…so, I can run. Or, should I stay and pretend I’m dead? My mind fills with solutions as my senses become more alert. I try the most basic resolution. I stay still with my eyes locked on the creature, trying to intimidate it and at the same time, examine its form. The animal‟s whole body is covered in silver fur, with the exception of two black streaks that trail under its eyes and stops near its pink nose, the black tip of its tail, and the black fur on the ends of its legs. It gives a yawn and exposes its sharp white teeth. It is a bit bigger than me and a pair of pure white wings adorns the feline‟s back. Beautiful. They do not resemble mere bird wings, but that of an Angel‟s— Put the paste on your forearm. It will feel much better. I look around once more, but see no living being except for the bird-cat, a very creative name I had chose to give the animal. As I watch the animal relaxing and swaying its tail about, the threat lessened and I felt strange. A strange feeling of familiarity with everything…I decide to try listening to the voice in my head and slowly reach for the purple paste in front of me with my good arm, watching the feline all the while. I put my fingers in the purple mesh and shiver in revulsion. It felt like vomit. But, if it would get rid of the pain, I don‟t care. I scoop a hefty amount and splatter it on my stinging forearm. Ahh…A sigh of relief escapes my mouth and I greedily scoop up more and more, spreading it on my sprained ankle and all over the bruises on my body. I then remember that the feline was still there. I stare at it, ready for a fight since the pain had numbed considerably. Better? The voice echoes in my head. Now that my mind was not as muddled with pain as it was before, I realized that the voice was not really a voice. It was more like a thought. But, it wasn‟t my thoughts… “What…are you?” I ask. I didn‟t expect and answer, but it didn‟t hurt to ask either. Me? I’m nothing special. If you’re feeling better already, we should go get you some proper treatment. The creature gets up and walks away, slowly as if waiting for me to follow. I get over the astonishment in a few seconds and limped to it hesitantly. I had no choice. I had no idea where I was and I was also injured. I see a big branch on the ground and take it with me, in case the animal planned on having me for dinner. As I follow the feline through the forest, I start to notice all of the peculiarities in my surroundings. To begin with, I notice that the sky had remained as colorful as a sunset for a rather long time and after examining more, I could not see the sun. There was no sun. Alternatively, the sky was lit up by multiple lights and each sphere of light was a bit different from the other. One beheld a blue shade, while another had a yellow shade, adding to the colors of the sky. In addition, they had slightly different rising and setting times, so the land was always changing in colors. Everything was so beautiful...so unnaturally beautiful. I begin to feel tired. The restless dreams I have had and my weakened state was wearing out my body. I touch one of the orange-hued trees for support and am shocked to find that it moves away from my hand. It grumbles something to the creature, and slowly moves away from us. Orange trees hate to be touched and get angry or agitated easily. I jolt in surprise. I am still not used to communicating with him. I hate it. The way it could ring its thoughts into mine. Green and brown trees are kinder and you can lean on them. Though, trees that have a tinge of purple in their bark are man-eaters. “Could you stop that?!” I request demandingly, “It‟s uncomfortable…” I frown. Ah. I… can not communicate any other way. I apologize. I already expected that answer. I don‟t know how, but I already knew. Everything feels odd. I haven‟t the slightest clue where I am or how I got here. Though, there is a sense of familiarity…as if I already knew this place. Liana. Just one name. Just „Liana‟ came up when I tried my hardest to remember. But, who? Every time I hear it or think of it, I get angry. Angry and disappointed, so much that it hurts. I know I hate that beautiful name more than anything. This confusing, mysterious place I know nothing of is serene. It feels safe. As if I belong in this unknown place…I feel no urgency to remember anything. Everything seems fine as it is now. The town… “Huh?” I‟m snapped back into reality by a soft mutter by the creature. I look up from the ground to see an unexpectedly dazzling town. I slowly absorb the sight of my surroundings. The buildings were made of a gel-like material that resembled glass. It made the structure seem see-through but, it really wasn‟t. Everything was almost hidden; a camouflaged city. Though, it wasn‟t invisible and people could still see it. The building‟s outline was perceptible, and occasionally, the lights would make the city sparkle like a cluster of crystals. The town seemed like it was floating, too. The ground was covered with a reflective material that changed colors with the sky, just like a lake. The creature proceeds to a building without worry, while I anxiously take my first step, afraid I might fall through the ground. A steady first step; feels like floating on water. I carefully take a few more steps. I know it is the ground, but my sight deceives me and walking becomes a thrilling and amazing experience. I run after my guide. Half of it had already entered the building while I was taking my first steps. The feline‟s front body had disappeared. A weird scenario… “Hey! Wait! What…How do I go in?” I ask, confused. “Where is the door?” I feel around the walls; a rubbery gel-like sensation. It changes form with every touch to fit my hand. It pops its head out, staring at me as if I had just asked the obvious. Just walk resonates clearly through my thoughts. “Ah, but! You...” I disagree anxiously. I have a name…Silvis. “Ahhh!” I cry in frustration and run head first into the wall. I expected to be bounced backwards, but instead the gel shapes to my force, slows my speed, and then starts to split open a path. I enter a refreshingly cool environment as the wall begins to close behind me. I look around the area. Surprisingly, the room looks just like a large lounge; with many comfy couches and glass tables of different shapes all around. Whoa. I had always loved lounges. Though, there are no people. There is only Silvis and I in the aberrant silence. Silvis waits at an upward spiraled stairway; Come. There is a man here that can help with the arm… ---------- Papers, books, and scraps of other unidentifiable things litter the floor. The peach walls are blocked by tall beautifully carved auburn shelves; though, the mess of plants and silver tools on the shelves undermined its beauty. A man sits on a large desk with his back facing us. “Silvis! It‟s…rare of you to visit me…Don‟t you usually avoid resting in this town?” His voice is low and distracted. He concentrates on some plants and tools before him, making no effort to turn around and greet us. How did he know it was Silvis? I expected Silvis to answer him, but to my surprise, there is nothing but silence. “Ah…Wait for a moment...I‟m a tad busy…I‟ll be with you in a second,” he says absentmindedly. A familiar annoyance pulls at my heart and I feel uncomfortable. I wish I didn‟t have to meet him. An inconsiderate guy like this is better off not knowing… “Alrighty. What do we have here?” He whips around in his rotating chair and slowly gets up to approach us. The first thing I notice is his tired gray eyes; then, the rough whiting hair, the pearly white grin, the tall nose, and the prominent jaw line, all accompanied by a lean body. “And you are…?” He looks at me. I am shocked. I stare at him blankly and try to recall everything that I could remember before waking up in the dark. Nothing comes to mind and I meekly replied, “I-I don‟t know.” He looks at me strangely and his hand reaches for my neck. I flinch away, but feel something pulling at my neck, a chain. I look down at a silver chain and the man‟s hand, holding a metal plate, a dog tag. „Florence‟ is engraved in cursive. Florence…my name. It was me. However, I still didn‟t feel complete. “Nice to meet you, Florence. Just call me Doctor. Now, let me have a look at that arm...and a sprained ankle, right?” I nod in response. He slightly lifts my arm and observes it. Then, he heads to one of the cluttered shelves and rummages through the mess until he finds some bandages, a jar of orange jelly, and a small cherry-like fruit. He hands me the fruit and orders me to eat it as he spread the jelly on my injuries and bandaged them over. The fruit numbs my tongue with its exceedingly sweet sensation and I mumble my thanks incomprehensibly. As he finished bandaging my arm, the pain from my arm disappears completely. My arm feels perfectly fine. I look at him with my eyes wide open, expecting an explanation. “It‟s fine. It was just you who made it broken,” he says in a blunt tone. I do not understand what he meant, but I nod anyways. “I‟d like to talk more, but I found a new species of medicinal herbs…” he replies. He sits back down in front of his desk. His attention is again absorbed by his work. I feel a crease form on my brow. “Silvis. I‟m going to look around…I‟ll be back in a bit,” I say disappointedly and leave before Silvis disapproves. I was frustrated with his unwelcoming treatment. I barely knew him, but he made me feel unneeded. The doctor‟s neglect cut the right strings. Although he helped me with my arm, his presence seems to disturb the world around me. I wanted to be as far away from him as possible. I walk around the lounge and sit on one of the couches, observing the outside through the blue tinted gel walls. The sky is black with some twinkling of stars, but there is some sort of lights on the ground away from town that illuminated the woods. I want to go outside, but I am afraid to go without Silvis by my side. In the short time we were traveling together, he had grown to be a part of me. There is a slight tap on my shoulder. Surprised, I quickly turn around. I thought I was the only one there. It is a little girl. She stands there quietly and examines me with her large dark eyes. She has short chaotic dark brown hair sticking out in every direction, awkwardly tanned skin, and she wears a wrinkled white dress. Somehow, she reminds me of myself. Feeling awkward from her staring, I decide to say something. “Hello, what is your name?” I ask as sweetly as possible. I don‟t know how to deal with children. I never did; because, I was always the child. “Laine.” She stretches her arms up and yawns. “You…-You are…Flo?” “Florence.” It flows out of my mouth like I never forgot it in the first place. How did she know it? “I‟m hungry,” she says, looking at me as if expecting me to give her food. “I don‟t have anything to give you. I‟m sorry.” I look through my pockets but end up with nothing. After she mentioned it, I noticed I was starving as well. “Nothing? That‟s stupid!” She frowns angrily and groans, making her way to the exit of the building. “Wait! It‟s dark out! Where are your parents?” I yell as I grab one of her arms. “Let me go!” “Laine!” A harmonious voice sang through the lounge. “There you are!” A beautiful woman appears from the stairway; golden wavy hair, hazel eyes, a slim figure, and a kind face. “Oh, why are you bothering that girl? It‟s time for you to go to bed!” She elegantly strides down the room as if she was floating and her presence brightened the quiet lounge. When the woman finally reaches us, she holds the little girl‟s hand tightly, preventing her from running away. “Thank you for watching her for me! She runs around all the time; I don‟t know what to do with this girl!” She glances at my clothing; dark mud-covered and ripped blue jean shorts and a mud-spattered t-shirt. “You are not from here?” “Uh. No.” I reply shyly. Wow. She is beautiful, caring, and kind, like a mother I‟ve always wanted. “A traveler, then?” She exclaims, “We don‟t get many of those here! Oh! But, you‟re so young!” “I‟m hungry!” the girl interrupts, “I don‟t want to sleep yet…and you can‟t make me! You‟re not my mommy!” Ignoring the girl, the woman continues, “Please, you are welcome to stay here. My name is Evelyn. Come, come. Follow me. It‟s the least I can do since you stopped Laine from running away. A child like you cannot go to the forest at this hour! With all those dangerous things living there…” “But, I have a companion…” The thought of staying with this kind lady was very appealing, however I don‟t know if Silvis would be alright with it. He was the only one I knew here, he was like a guardian to me. “Then, he can stay too! This complex has more than enough space. Almost everyone stays here,” she assures me with a bright smile. “Then, I will go get him.” I answer instantly. I don‟t know where Silvis had planned on staying, but I don‟t want to stay with the Doctor. ---------------------- I sit silently at the table in the dinning room of Evelyn‟s floor, swirling my soup with the spoon. Apparently, each family gets a floor in the complex. Evelyn was right. Each floor had many rooms and a luxurious amount of space; much better than the woods. Everything feels so familiar, so perfect. Yet, there is always a lingering sense of unbalance; a lingering indescribable feeling that told me everything was erroneous. “What‟s wrong? Is the mushroom soup not to your liking?” Evelyn asks with a worried expression. “No. I‟m just thinking.” I laugh in embarrassment and stuff a spoonful of soup in my mouth along with a big piece of bread. “This soup is amazing!” “Yes, isn‟t it? My wife is an amazing cook!” Evelyn‟s husband, Gideon, joined. He was a big man that resembled a masculine Evelyn; both were beautiful and loving. Evelyn laughs and offers us a second serving. I accept and look around for Silvis. He had accepted the offer to stay with Evelyn, but with hesitation and discontent. I don‟t know why. They were such nice people. He hasn‟t said a word to me since I met the doctor. “Where is Silvis?” I ask. “Your cat? A very peculiar cat. He didn‟t seem hungry and stayed at the room I showed you to. What food does he eat?” “I don‟t know.” I answer, “I‟ll go ask.” “Ask? A cat? You can talk to it?” Evelyn asked, baffled. “Yea-” I am interrupted by the young girl who was drinking her third bowl of soup and grabbing at all the bread. “Meat!” Laine calls out, “Silvis eats meat!” “Ah! Then, I will go prepare some.” Evelyn quickly leaves and enters through a door. “That‟s quite surprising. You can talk to animals too?” Gideon asks as he put down his spoon. “Well. I don‟t really know…I can just talk to Silvis for some reason. I haven‟t tried talking to other animals.” “Laine. She wandered in town a while ago, in tattered clothing and crying out nonstop for food. A bit like you…She‟s a very special girl and everyone was shocked! As the mayor, I talked with Evelyn and we decided to adopt her. We couldn‟t let her live in the woods! A little girl like her! It turns out she has a very special ability! She can also talk to animals! Though, she‟s a bit spoiled, she isn‟t a bad child.” I look at the little girl with eyes as wild as an animal gulping down her soup and asking for more. She has a big appetite… Soon after, Evelyn hands me a plate of cooked meat and fish, puts Laine to sleep, says good night, and retreats to her bedroom with her husband. I enter my room and find Silvis curled up in the middle of the bed. “I brought you some food.” I put the plate next to him. He rips at the pieces. “Do you not like Evelyn or her family?” It’s not ‘like’ or ‘dislike’. No. “What, why? They‟re nice people.” That’s how they seem. However, they all want something from you, Florence. “What do you mean? What do they want?” I ask, confused. They want you to stay here forever as part of their town. “And why can‟t I?” I complained, disappointed that Silvis doesn‟t want to stay, “Where else do I go? I have nowhere to go! This place is amazing. I feel at peace here! And, they are good people! So, why can‟t I stay?” You don’t belong here. This place will entrap you. This place is created through fear and weakness. You can’t stay here for long. I don‟t know how to respond. It’ll trap me? Fear and weakness? I don‟t quite understand. I don’t want to fight anymore. Forget it. I leave the room and sit on the comfiest looking coach in the living room. I do not want to leave. I don‟t mind living here forever. If I didn’t live here, where would I go? Back into the woods, traveling with Silvis? Into the woods with man-eating trees and other dangerous wild creatures? Where did I come from? Who was I? Tears fill my eyes and I feel my strength leave me. Did it even matter? Who is Silvis, anyway? Couldn’t I just run away from it all; all the confusion and just stay in this town? And perhaps, Evelyn and Gideon would adopt me too, just like Laine. Then, everything would be perfect; just perfect happiness… “Why are you crying?” A curious voice makes me jump and I lift my head to the speaker. Thankfully, it was Laine and not the parents. I would‟ve been more embarrassed if an adult saw me crying like a baby by myself. The little girl sits next to me and I withhold my teardrops from falling as best I could. “Are you hungry? You look bad. Eyes are red and you have a snotty nose…” she says insensitively. “…Shouldn‟t you be sleeping? I‟m not crying. So, just leave. Go sleep!” I growl back, showing my annoyance. “You are hungry? You eat a lot,” she continues, not taking the hint. “No! I‟m not hungry! Do you only cry when you‟re hungry?!” A straightforward nod. She looks at me, not understanding why I asked the question. “Or if the animals bite me. Why cry if you‟re full and no animals bite?” “Urgh. I don‟t know! Don‟t ask me.” Everything seems so simple to her. She really is a strange child. I don’t like it…No, I hate it! A little kid telling me to stop crying. How pathetic. I remember that she also had no where to go before…We were so different, yet so similar as well. “You don‟t think Evelyn or Gideon is your mom or dad?” I ask, recalling what she said. “No.” “Why? They are so caring towards you!” “I already have a mom. I‟m trying to find her. She has my stuff! I need them,” she whines, “Have to run away to there.” She points to the window. “But they won‟t let me and always stop me!” “Who is your mother?” I ask, astonished. I thought she was an orphaned wild child as Gideon had said. They can‟t be kidnappers…they probably thought it is dangerous for a little girl to travel by herself. “The Green Lady. My mommy is the Green Lady!” “Yeah, but who is the Green Lady?” “Her favorite color is green. She wears it a lot. And she‟s really hard to find…Best at hide and seek and hunting and lying. Has tons of friends. I don‟t like them. A lot of people don‟t like her. Especially Marion.” “Chasing her? Why? What did she do?” “I don‟t know. Maybe „cause she doesn‟t listen to people,” Laine says indifferently. “Did she leave you alone in the woods?” “Some people were coming and she left, but I left too cause I was hungry. But I forgot my stuff and couldn‟t get food.” She frowns and examines her surroundings like an animal searching for an escape. “This place has good food, but…it‟s hard to breathe here. It‟s better in the woods.” I feel edgy, with a little bit of anger and sadness mixed in. Confusing emotions. How could this Lady leave such a small child alone in the forest? And Laine almost said the same thing as Silvis. What was it that they had sensed? What was so bad about this town and the people? Beautiful, kind, caring, and peaceful. Everything seems so perfect… What was it that I couldn’t see? And how could I not know anything. Did I bump my head before I woke up in the dark? I don‟t remember anything at all; not even how to do simple things. Even though, my body just does it instinctively and everything seems normal. I feel so frustrated with my lost memory. I feel as if I had forgotten something important; something very important I had to do. It was something challenging and sad…I want to know. Is it something bad? Sad? It‟s curiosity. “I‟m tired now. Night night!” Laine interrupts my thoughts and heads back to her room. I sit there alone once again, wondering about what Laine said. The Green Lady…I‟m not sure why but, she seems significant, special. I feel that I knew her. She sounded familiar. However, something was off. An uneasiness lurked about whenever I thought about her, just like the Doctor. I don’t like it, yet I want to know. I yawn and stretch my arms to the air. My body feels free and uninjured thanks to the Doctor. I decide to return to bed. I am tired and my argument with Silvis didn‟t seem very important anymore. I can deal with things tomorrow; decide tomorrow. ××× I open my eyes to a light grey haziness, not complete darkness like before. There is no whirring. It’s not scary anymore. I look around. It’s the same grey everywhere and nothing else. I can’t differentiate the ground from the sky; it was all a space of grey with some whitish misty breeze flowing about. It almost seem like I am floating. Everything is quiet and my body still feels stiff. I get up and walk around in a wide circle, trying to find a path of some sort or something that stood out from the uniform grey nothingness. I don’t see any difference and decide to walk one direction, hoping that I’ll come upon a different scenario. I’ve walked for what seems to be forever. I sit down, hopelessly. Everything is the same. Even the currents of mist seem to be flowing about in the same wavy pattern, repeating itself. The breeze feels cold. Where is it coming from? I hear nothing. There’s just the sound of breathing, but that’s me. The air tastes a light sickly sweet. I think it’s the mist. I’ve tasted it before. I’ve experienced this before. I was sick that time and some people tried to make me feel better. They made me breathe this light airy gas. Who did? What is this? Where am I? Isn’t there anyone here? Is there only me? This is all wrong. It should be comfortable again without the noise. It should be soothing, calming, peaceful, comfortable, happy, perfect…. ××× A knocking resonates from the door. The door…I need to get it. Ah, so tired. I roll around the bed and cover my head with the sheets. The door swings open and a sudden pressure on my waist makes me jump up. “Ouch!” I scream. Laine was practically jumping on me. “Wake up,” Laine replies bluntly, staring at me. “Food.” “What about food?” I grumbled. Despite her cute innocent appearance, she was just like a wild animal. I‟m a bit annoyed, but I know that wouldn‟t do any good when it comes to dealing with Laine. I had already grasped her character. “Evey said I can‟t eat because of you! And I‟m hungry already!” She says angrily. “Tell her I‟ll be there in a minute.” I hurriedly get ready. I roughly brush my dark hair, splash my tired face with some cold water, and change into the new clothes Evelyn gave me. I call Silvis to wake up but realize he had already left with Laine. Since when were they so close? I make my way to the dining room where Laine had already started chugging down her food. I apologize and we all start to eat our bread and jam. “How did you sleep?” asks Gideon with a big smile. “Alright. I‟m just a bit tired. But, more refreshed! How about you?” I answer, thinking about my vague dream. “Great!” He laughs and awkward silence follows. After a bit, he continues once more, “I was wondering…I have a request of you. It would be alright if you declined; it‟s just a request. “What is it?” I ask curiously, “I‟d love to help if I can.” Gideon glances at Evelyn and back at me. “Laine has a mother; a rather uncouth and immoral one. When we adopted Laine, she told us she had a mother, but we didn‟t want to let such a young child go back into the woods alone to search! Furthermore, that woman abandoned her! So, we decided to keep Laine and care for her. Nonetheless, Laine always tries to run back into the woods. We‟ve found out that what Laine wants is not her mother, but her things that her mother is keeping for her,” he said seriously. “Without my stuff, I can‟t eat and the animals can hurt me!” Laine interrupts unhappily as food fly out from her mouth. Evelyn wipes the scrapes of food away from the child‟s mouth. “Gideon and I were wondering if, since you are a traveler, you can find Laine‟s mother for us and get Laine‟s things back. Even if you don‟t do such a thing, you can stay with us. Though, it‟d be nice if you could. We cannot leave because Gideon looks after the town, you see,” adds Evelyn. “Um…I—I don‟t know. Will you let me think about it?” I ask. I truthfully didn‟t want to travel again. I just wanted to stay here. However, I knew that I couldn‟t just stay without some sort of payment. “Of course,” answered Evelyn. “May I know more about Laine‟s mother?” I ask timidly. They hesitate for a moment. Then, Evelyn says softly, leaning in as if trying not to let Laine hear from across the table, “She‟s known as the Green Lady. She‟s a fugitive. One of the most dangerous, in fact. The Earl is always searching for her. Thank heavens Laine escaped before she was hurt! “Who is the Earl?” I ask, confused. “You don‟t know?” Evelyn questions, surprised, “The Earl of Elise is our sovereign, Noble Marion. He decreed the Green Lady as a criminal and now everyone is looking for her.” “Yup!” Laine chuckles, “Mommy is a bad person. So, you have to be careful.” She grins and looks straight at me with her sharp dark eyes. And grinning with confidence, she asked, “You‟re going, aren‟t you?” Perception – Noun. The act of understanding by the means of the senses and the mind. “Thank you again, Florence!” Evelyn says as she gave me a warm hug, “With this, I hope our daughter won‟t attempt to run away all the time.” “Yes. You are too kind!” Gideon chimes in gratefully, “And be sure to take precaution when you find her. The Green Lady is dangerous!” He gives me a rough pat on my back as if to show his support and acceptance. “Come back safe! This town has more than enough room for you!” He briefly pets Silvis‟s head before Silvis manages to turn away. “Take good care of your owner!” “It‟s the least I can do,” I reply timidly, “Thank you for your hospitality.” Then Evelyn and Gideon unexpectedly give me a farewell hug. At first it was awkward and uncomfortable since I had only met them recently and was never used to these things. Though, after a moment of being held so sweetly, I was overcome by comfort and longing. I don‟t want to leave. This town was the most calming, peaceful place I had ever been to. Peculiarly, last night, I didn‟t have a nightmare either. It wasn’t dark at all…It was sweet, instead. Everything was rosy pink; there was a dreamy warm and rosy haze. The faint scent of flowers tingled at my nose at every whiff. The sound of light, bird-like melody drowsily mixed with the sounds of laughter and fun, floated about languidly, caressing at the ears of its listeners. It was so dreamy; so dreamy to the point that I lost my senses. Euphoric. I was laughing, suffocating in laughter. Nothing bothered me. There were two others. I was so happy with them. Though now, I can’t remember their faces anymore; they were kind and filled with overflowing love and joy. Maybe, they looked like Evelyn and Gideon. I don’t remember. But, they are the only ones I know who can be so happy and so kind. Everything was exhilarating. I didn’t want to wake up. I wanted to stay forever, in that fleeting dream. It almost seemed real; almost… I really do want to stay. Yet, I know I have go somewhere. I feel a tugging; a slight tugging. It is so trivial that I almost didn‟t notice it. It was like a little soft breeze in a still room that slowly glided on my skin and rustled through my hair. Something was pulling at my heart and I know what it‟s telling me to do. It is a whisper for me to move on, for me to find something I had lost along with my memories. Silvis could help me. I knew I had to follow him. Whenever I peered into his lavender eyes, I feel like we were connected. I could understand him; his intentions, his thoughts, and emotions. Somehow, he had grown to be a part of me. I had decided to trust him. I am sure that if I followed him, I would discover something about myself. Also, I decided to meet with the Green Lady. The mysterious woman, the mother of the wild-child Laine, a fugitive and enemy of the Earl, who is she? Curiosity, maybe. I‟m not sure what it is. Finally, when I was out of Evelyn and Gideon‟s embrace, I look at Laine, sitting on the ground with her legs crossed together. She looks bored, but her eyes are darting from one place to another as if she‟s examining everything closely. I was unconsciously expecting a farewell from her but when I don‟t get one, I‟m a bit disappointed. Again, Evelyn and Gideon start with their sorrowful goodbyes when I decide it‟s time to go. I turn away from the building and begin in the direction of the northern woods with a new backpack filled with food and survival tools, and Silvis by my side. For some reason, I wasn‟t really afraid. Perhaps it was because of Silvis. I‟m not sure, but everything seemed normal… “Wait, Florence! I almost forgot!” a voice calls out to me. I turn to see Gideon a few steps behind me. He hands me a small yet heavy pouch and a letter. “This is from the Doctor! He said he was sorry he couldn‟t make it to say good-bye.” Gideon notices my slight frown and gives a small sigh. “Don‟t let it bother you. That man is always busy.” “Yeah…I could tell.” He reminded me of someone. Someone close to me and whom I probably didn‟t like. Constant lies, disregard, disappointment…I shake it off. I didn‟t care for regaining sad memories. I stuff the leather pouch and letter into my pack and continue following Silvis. He was my guide and I knew I‟d be safe. ----------------------- The petals of the sun-flowers close up and it is getting pretty dark. The wind rustles through the trees, making a terrifying howling sound as hungry predators would when signaling their friends for a feast. Even though Evelyn had given me some specially designed clothing to keep me extra warm, the wind succeeded in chilling me to my bones. Silvis doesn’t look cold at all. Though, his fur has fluffed up, doubling his size. I think it’s how he keeps himself warm. I really want to— Are you cold? Surprised by his sudden question, I give a simple nod. Come closer. I do as I‟m told and a purplish-red light emanates from his body and dies out. His fur doubles in size again. I couldn‟t help myself from letting out a little chuckle. He looks like a large silver snowball of fluff. Then, I feel what he was trying to do. A warm air current engulfs me and I don‟t even feel the cruel wind beating at me anymore. I turn to him immediately and stick my hand into the fur, to find out if it really was him generating the heat. Although his fur looked rigid and rough, it‟s as soft as feathers and as warm as a fire. “Thank you!” I exclaim gratefully, “But, aren‟t you hot?” No. I can handle extreme experiences much better than you… His „voice‟ sounds a bit sorrowful for an unknown reason and has a tinge of pity as well. I feel offended. I don‟t exactly know what he meant by “experiences”, but I know it was an undermining comment. I could handle situations just fine, couldn’t I? I take a little step away from his warmth, trying to sustain my pride while receiving his help at the same time. Though, I don‟t think it helped because, I knew he was right. The Lenora flowers, as named by Silvis, lit up. Their purpose was to guide the land animals who were blind in the dark. When the petals peel open, the usually yellowish white orbs of light illuminates the dark ground. Silvis warned me not to eat them because they were poisonous. I pick one up to examine it. The glowing orbs first feel squishy to the touch. I look at it more closely and realize that it resembled amber, but was white and glowing. After an hour or two, I‟m not sure, the light slowly fades. I study it once more and see that there was something deep inside the core; some creature curled up like a ball with its pale white tail tucked up to its body. It was hiding from me, cowering in terror and confusion. Then, the glowing light grows dark and the creature deep inside the orb shrivels up into nothing. It disappeared and what was left was a dark disintegrating sticky orb. I throw it to the ground at once and hurriedly chase after Silvis, who was a fair distance in front of me. I fling my hands around a little, trying to rid myself of the gooey yellowish white matter. Being unsuccessful with the flinging, I stop for a moment to wash my hands with my drinking water. I didn‟t want it on my hands. I didn‟t want to admit that I had killed the childlike creature. We arrive at an open space after walking for a long time. It‟s darker here because there are only a few Lenora flowers blooming. We decide to camp here and eat the food Evelyn prepared for us; delicious sweet bread, creamy cheese, and smoked meat. We traveled light, so as a result, I have only a thick blanket as a bed. There‟s nothing to complain about though because the blanket was made from special material that felt silky to the touch and could even insulate my heat and comfort my body from the hard ground. I cocoon myself in it and lean on a sturdy green tree near the open area. I look forward to sleeping, hoping I would have another as comforting as previously. Silvis is beside me and still reverberating warmth like a fireplace. And with his glowing violet eyes that saw everything in the dark, I feel safe. Warm and secure, I slowly drift to sleep. ××× It’s rosy pink and it’s sweetly warm. I’m surrounded by people. Everyone is laughing and smiling, including me. Again, I’m filled with laughter and happiness. I don’t know what is so funny, but I keep laughing. Tears streak my face. It’s a bit hard to breath. Though, I’m smiling. Perfect. Their bodies dance around me, hands connected and swaying, skipping around me, all in a circle, round and round. It’s too fun. Every one of them are singing, a song I don’t know. They’re voices mesh into one, one uniform beautiful chant. They are calling my name; Florence, Florence, Florence…Dreamy. I wish to sing too. Though, I continue laughing and smiling. It’s getting dark now. The stars fall around us, streaking the sky with sparkles. Beautiful. White Flowers bloom from the sparkles of light, revealing glowing orbs. Human-like creatures with large dinosaur tails emerge from the orbs and dance along with my friends. They start to become one. They all dance around me, calling my name with love. I start to curl up. I’m pale white and smiling sheepishly. I curl up into a ball with my arms hugging my tail. My friends’ hands disconnect and they reach for me, as if to hug me, as if to take a part of me. My light grows faint and I slowly shrivel up, laughing and smiling all the while. Everything is pink and rosy, sweet and warm, slimy and dark… ××× I wake up covered in cold sweat. My feet and hands feel freezing but everywhere else is hot. I touch my forehead and then my neck to check my temperature. I don‟t think I have a fever. I have been feeling pretty healthy ever since my visit with the Doctor. My dream…was it a good dream? Or was it a nightmare? I was smiling…laughing. I don‟t exactly know what to call it. Silvis is curled up near me, sleeping soundly. I can‟t sleep so I sit there quietly, letting my mind wander. I count the stars, I count the Lenora flowers around us, I count some sheep, and I count some more things. I adjust my position and remember to remind myself to thank the tree for its support tomorrow. I watch Silvis‟s calm steady breathing and I listen to the cooing of some night birds. However, the more I dazed about, the more I didn‟t feel like sleeping anymore. Then, I faintly heard someone sing a song I knew. It was a very nostalgic song that filled me with all kinds of emotion. The sound faded for a while and reappeared just as soon. A clear beautifully rich voice was singing it. I search the open area and further within the woods with my eyes. We've found a kind of paradise in a flowers bloom… I slowly slip out of my cocoon of a blanket and quietly sneak farther away from the sleeping Silvis. I follow the sound of the lamenting voice. We've seen the end of a mystic land so close it meets the parting sun… It was coming from within the woods, away from the camping area. I know it was close to me. I could hear it. I could feel his presence. I look back at Silvis, curled up, peacefully dreaming of something. Perhaps, it was fish. I decide not to awake him and venture forward toward the nostalgia. We've shared the thoughts that two could share, we feel the truth, magic that we send... Searching for something new… His voice was magnetic. I walk towards it, enchanted. I even begin to sing as well, softly, along with him. Isle of Gold in flowers bloom… He stopped. And, I was thrown back into reality, into the dark woods. There is only silence. I‟m alone again. I feel weak; weak…and abandoned, lost. I continue forward to where I had heard his voice and attempt to sing. My voice trembled. I forced it all out and with great effort, it came through: “…We've found a kind of paradise…below a sky so new… We've weaved a web of mystery so wide, we need the light of day… We've worn the cloak of secret lives, we've seen the truth, magic that we send...” Searching for something new… “Isle of Gold in flowers bloom…” So, when will it end?... “So when, when will we meet, my friend?” His figure emerges from the trees; it is a tall and fit figure that is leaning slightly on one foot, a relaxed pose. He is pale white, as if his skin had never seen the light of day. No. Not pale white. It is illuminating, almost lucid and transparent like a ghost. Long pale fawn-colored hair reaches down to his chest and one of his hands were resting in the pocket of his dark blue military styled tunic that reaches to the mid of his thighs. Soft hazel eyes that were nearly yellow examine me and contrary to mine, there is no sign of astonishment on his face. A slight grin forms from his lips. “Hello.” He greets, still grinning. “May I know the name of my complementary singer?” “Florence…” I say softly, still a bit shocked from his translucent appearance. It seems as though he could just fade into the air. “It is nice to meet you, Florence. You are gifted with a very lovely voice.” He gracefully moves closer towards me and extends his hand out for a handshake. I comply. A firm grip accompanied with a standard smile. He states, “I‟m well-known as Marion.” “Marion?!” I jerk my hand away, accidently. “Oh? You have heard of me already, Florence?” Marion asks inquisitively. “Uh,” I stutter. “Yes. You are the Earl of this place, right?” “Yes. Lord, Earl, King; they call me very different things, but I am indeed the sovereign.” His expression is stoic. Official; like I‟m a colleague now, no longer a friend. I give a slight bow with my head. “Lo-Lord Marion! I‟m sorry for my rude behavior…I don‟t remember anything. I have amnesia…” I ramble on. He stares at me for a moment and gives a genuine smile this time. “It‟s quite alright. Just treat me as an equal. I‟m here for a relaxing walk in the night, nothing official. You can continue calling me Marion if you‟d like.” “Okay,” I say nervously. Silence flows through and stays for an awkward amount of time. Marion walks towards a large boulder and rests on it as a king does on his thrown. I stand there not moving an inch. I‟m still tense. “So, why are you roaming about in the woods at this time, Florence? Is Silvis with you?” “Silvis? You know him?” I ask, surprised. “Yes. He‟s a good friend of mine,” he peers at me for a moment and continues, “Since you‟re traveling about, are you looking for someone?” It was a nonchalant stare and a probing question with not much effort. He knows. He knows who I’m searching for already. But how? And how did he know I was traveling with Silvis… I decide to tell him the truth. He already knew, anyways. “I‟m searching for the Green Lady,” I state without hesitation. “Oh? And, what for?” He gives a little smile again. They aren’t happy smiles. No. Those smiles are emotionless. I was right. He did know and I made the right choice telling him the truth. “She has something that belongs to my friend. I‟m going to take it back. That‟s all.” “Hm. That‟s a very risky chance you‟re taking. She‟s a very dangerous woman…” Though his indifferent expression didn‟t change, his eyes weren‟t soft anymore. They seemed empty, except as I peered into them more, I could see the little flickers of hatred within the hollowness. “Would you like me to lend a hand? I have many strong men at my aid.” “I don‟t know. If she really is as dangerous as what everyone said, I think I do. But, I have to ask Silvis. He‟s more or less my keeper.” “Of course!” He exclaims and gives a small chuckle. “Who is the friend the Green Lady stole from?” I can understand his intentions now, just like I could with Laine. I can feel it. He wasn‟t a bad man, just consumed with searching for the Green Lady. He was actually quite similar to Laine and I, we were all trying to find her. This woman seemed to be driving this place mad. Maybe, she has something to do with my memories as well…The atmosphere was more relaxed now and I don‟t feel any harm from telling him the truth. “Laine. A little girl I met in a town. After I help her get her things I can stay in the town. It‟s the only place I can go, since I forgot my memories.” “Hm. Do you mean Laine, the daughter of the Green Lady? She‟s staying in Elise town? Huh, that‟s strange. That place isn‟t good for someone like her. It‟s not for someone like you, either. I‟d advise you to stay away,” he says leisurely. A rustle of the bushes nearby interrupted our conversation. I turn immediately, looking for the cause. Who? Or what?! Florence, why are you here? You shouldn’t be wandering around at night. Silvis appears from the thickets of shrubbery and trees.
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