Locked Shadows

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150 Years Later, in Mother Dimension Maana…

They say that steam calms your muscles down after rigorous work, but up to this day I had always questioned myself if that was really true.

Nothing could prepare me for what was going to happen today. Quite frankly, I was enjoying myself with a long soak on a hot tub out in the tropics. The spa was nice; my aching muscles felt more at ease the minute I felt the steam and water travel through my body.

“So the theories were true,” I sighed, letting my whole body fall asleep in the bubbling water. Melanie Travis, my all-around best friend, had kindly accommodated me for a day in a fairly satisfactory luxury resort in the small tropics near my area. It truly did feel good, knowing that the hot water could wet myself slick, letting the worries about my father and my military brother slide off my skin.

It was still a pain though after the thought crossed my mind. I sighed glumly and sank lower into the water until my mouth was inside the water. My older brother was serving diligently in the military, and as of now, his whereabouts were reported unknown. Father died a young militia man, and I barely even knew him. The only thing I knew about my father, Phineas Anoroxas Miranda was that he was the first to die in an attempt to save his comrades from a bomb that was due to destruct the minute they found it. Mother, who was pregnant with me and who had the depressing privilege to see his body in that casket, would weep thinking about him and about my missing brother, Raquel Miranda, who she feared would die the same way that my father did.

The only thing left for me to do now is to hope that they find Raquel. But what are the chances of that?

It was growing dark outside. Darn it, I thought, the water was too good too. But hey, a few more hours won't hurt, right?

My back suddenly began to prick abnormally. The burn came gradually until I abruptly felt quick staccatos of excruciating pain that ran down my spine. Shocked, I quickly submerged every inch of my back into the pool in hopes that the hot water would relieve the pain.

It didn't.

Okay, I panicked. This is bad for me! I've never had something like this before! Was it the spa?! Was it the water?!

But another thing caught my eye. The sky wasn't even dark but one star was already glimmering in the sky. The star was an odd one; it was shaped in a very distinct shape of an asterisk, and the size was oddly large for a regular star. It puzzled me immensely.


I turned around and see Melanie, who was already dressed and dry. She gazed at me and smiled. "Why are you still in the pool? It's getting late."

In my mind I pleaded to myself, I hope I'm not crazy. I hope I'm not crazy... "Sure, Mellie," I replied. Ignoring my back pain, I slowly let myself out of the spa and sit on the rim of the pool, letting my legs still dangle inside. "The stars are great tonight, huh."

Melanie twisted her head in shock. "Jaclyn," she grunted, "there are no stars in the sky yet."

"Really?!" I pinched my arm, blinked a few times, and tried to put myself back to reality. No luck. I still saw the star. "What about that odd-looking star over there?" I pointed to the asterisk and squeaked a little.

My best friend scratched her head in confusion. "I don't see anything, Jackie," she said, shaking her head, "Are you okay? Maybe the steam got into your head."

Melanie tossed a towel at me, and I caught it, dazed and confused.

"What's wrong?" she asked, still puzzled, "Look Jackie, it's getting late anyway. C'mon. Let's go back to our rooms." With that, she left the pool area, leaving me confused and slightly hurt.

I decided to take her advice anyway, and slowly got out of the spa and wrapped myself with the towel Melanie tossed to me. I left the pool area sulkily, taking one last glance at the sinister star that haunted me, and, unbeknownst to everyone else, was what led to an untimely death.

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